HICKORY The Hickory Crawdads are hosting the South Atlantic League All-Star Game on Tuesday, and Catawba native Hunter Harvey will be the star of the show.
Just over one year ago, Harvey was selected out of Bandys High in the first round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Baltimore Orioles, and now he will be the North Division starting pitcher in the All-Star Game.
Harvey’s star has risen over the past year to the point that he was named the second-best pitching prospect in the minors and 10th overall prospect in ESPN baseball analyst Keith Law’s midseason top prospect list.
After posting a 1.78 ERA over eight starts last season in rookie league and short-season Class A, Harvey (3-4) has continued his dominance with a 3.13 ERA over 12 starts for the Delmarva Shorebirds, allowing no earned runs in half of those starts. He also has struck out 69 batters over his 60 1/3 innings.
Harvey’s father Bryan also pitched at Bandys, at UNC Charlotte and for nine seasons as a reliever with the California Angels and Florida Marlins.
“He’s way beyond his years as far as maturity,” Orioles director of pitching development Rick Peterson said of Hunter Harvey. “Obviously he grew up in a baseball family, his dad being a major league pitcher, so he’s (imparted) a lot of wisdom to Hunter, and he’s got great mound presence – the ability to stay focused and keep things intact as the game unfolds is really impressive for a young pitcher.”
Peterson also was quick to praise Harvey’s fundamental skills, a sentiment Law shares. The ESPN analyst said Harvey has “one of the best curveballs in the minors and above-average velocity already from an easy delivery.”
Although Peterson said the team doesn’t have a timetable for Harvey to reach the big leagues, Law estimated it would take at least two more years. In the meantime, his success in the lower minors comes as no shock.
“Quite honestly, because we had such high expectations of his abilities, his physical abilities and his mental abilities,” Peterson said, “it’s no surprise to anybody in this organization because we recognized how advanced he was for his age.”
Harvey will be playing with some of the most promising young players in Class A ball at the All-Star Game, which is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Baseball America Top-100 prospects and fellow 2013 first-round picks Reese McGuire (Pirates catcher) and J.P. Crawford (Phillies shortstop) will join Harvey on the Northern Division team, and Top-100 prospect and 2012 first-round pick David Dahl (Rockies outfielder) will headline the Southern Division team.
“We look at Hunter and realize that this is a great experience for him,” Peterson said. “He’s going to be up against and teammates of the best players of his stage of his career. That’s a real honor, and I’m sure it’s going to be a great learning experience for him as well.”
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