Every player has their reason for committing to a particular school. Hunter Harvey has his reasons for not. A righthander at Bandys High in Catawba, N.C., Harvey is currently uncommitted, but he and his family are straightforward about their plans.
“Right now we’re not really thinking about college,” he said. “I just want to go play pro ball mainly. That’s my goal, that’s what I want to do.”
On the surface, it seems like a point of leverage that would work against Harvey in the upcoming draft. However, Harvey’s family is very well educated in the business of baseball thanks to his father, Brian Harvey, who pitched in the big leagues for nine seasons with the Angels and Marlins.
“We’re not in any hurry to commit to any place,” Brian Harvey said. “The way he’s throwing the ball, he has a chance to be drafted in June. He wants to play baseball. We’re not trying to play, ‘Oh he might go here, he might not.’ No, he wants to play baseball. If he can keep throwing it like he is, he should be OK come June.”
OK is right with Harvey’s arm. It’s been a very cold spring so he is still finding consistency, but Harvey has shown a plus fastball and good secondary stuff to go with his projectabe frame. He has a very quick arm and major league tutoring from his dad.
“Everything I’ve learned has been from him,” the younger Harvey said.
Don’t expect a team to try to take advantage of Harvey’s lack of commitment come June. With Brian Harvey’s background and his son’s talent, a team with ulterior motives will likely miss out on a premium arm. A more likely scenario is that a team jumps on him the supplemental round because they know his signability. There are no questions. He could even climb draft boards because of his situation. A team may be able to save a little bit of money, but no one is stealing Harvey.
“A team isn’t going to look at him and say ‘He’s not committed to a college so maybe he’s not right for us’, and then wait for the next round,” one scout said. “It probably ends up helping the kid because there are no question marks. You know he’s going to sign. If he falls to you, you’re not going to be hesitant because there is a signability issue.
“His ability is going to dictate where he goes in the draft. And like you said, people aren’t going to wait to try to steal this kid. Wherever he goes in this draft is going to be because he belongs at that pick. It may even be the opposite where someone jumps up and takes him earlier because they know he’s signing, where they may have someone evaluated ahead of him, but then that kid may be a question mark signing wise.”
Scouts are also appreciative of the Harveys’ candor. There aren’t any games, hidden dialogue or posturing. It’s pretty black and white.
“I think the theory is that because he isn’t committed and doesn’t have options, it may hurt him in the draft,” the scout said. “But to be honest with you, I think that’s an old wives’ tale. Scouts want to sign kids who want to play. From there, the draft is going to dictate where they go anyway.”
Harvey has been up to 97 mph this spring, but primarily pitches in the low 90s. He throws a little across his body and tends to rush the end of his delivery, but he flashes good secondary stuff and has the big league bloodlines. The younger Harvey thinks he shares his dad’s aggressive demeanor, but that may be where it stops as Brian Harvey doesn’t see a lot of similarities between them at the same point of their careers.
“No, we’re not really close,” he said. “Both of my boys were much better pitchers in high school than I was. I hope part of that is they worked with me all the way up to here. So they’ve had some help along the way, where I didn’t quite as much help. I just had a good arm. I didn’t really get help until I got into the Angels’ minor league system. Then I got some good pitching coaching there.
“Both of my boys, they were way more polished than me in high school.”
Harvey’s other son is Kris Harvey, who played at Clemson from 2003-2005 and was drafted as an outfielder in the second round by the Marlins in 2005. He spent his first four pro seasons as a hitter before shifting back to the mound. He spent 2012 with Double-A Altoona where he had a 3.29 ERA in 55 innings.
Baseball America was recently in attendance for one of Hunter Harvey’s starts. Conor Glassey filed a game report, which included video.