On his own, Harvey shows all five tools
By Allan Simpson
WILMINGTON, N.C.Every showcase he went to this summer, Ryan Harvey had to share top billing with the cream of next years high school draft crop. Finally, he had the stage to himself at the East Coast Professional Baseball Showcase.
With Chris Lubanski, Lastings Milledge and Delmon Youngall projected top picks in 2003forming a star-studded outfield for Team USA at the World Junior Championship in Canada, Harvey stood out among 150 top prospects selected to play in the four-day showcase.
"He was the best player here, no doubt," an American League scouting director said. "Hes in the same group as those other guys."
The 6-foot-5, 190-pound Dunedin (Fla.) High product was likened by scouts and college recruiters to a righthanded version of Josh Hamilton, the No. 1 pick in the 1999 draft and an East Coast Showcase alumni. No player showed his combination of power, speed and arm strength.
Harvey opened the event with a 380-foot, opposite-field home run and closed it by showcasing a 91 mph fastball. He was one of only a handful of players to leave the yard or reach 90. In between, he also showed off his 6.6-second speed in the 60.
"I try not to brag about it," Harvey said, "but I can play with those other guys. Ive been to a lot of showcases this summer and Ive played with all of them before. Im about even with them."
Harvey had another commitment and did not participate in the Team USA trials in Joplin, Mo., earlier this summer. Otherwise, he might have joined Lubanski, Milledge and Young in Canada as a fourth prep outfielder targeted to be among the top 10 picks in next years draft. As it is, Harvey spent much of his summer showcasing his considerable skills both as a hitter and pitcher.
"I enjoy doing both," he said. "Im more of an all-around guy, but I like hitting more than anything."
Versatility has always been one of Harveys strengths. Growing up in Florida, Harvey started out as a first baseman. He then spent six years as a shortstop before a growth spurt forced him to third base. He then caught for a couple of years before settling into his role as a pitcher/outfielder three years ago.
Harvey played a pivotal two-way role last spring for Dunedin High, one of the nations top high school teams. The Falcons won their first 34 games only for Harvey to absorb his teams only loss in the state 4-A semifinal. Though he was overshadowed on his own team by Cubs second-round pick Brian Dopirak and Phillies eighth-rounder Steve Doetsch, Harvey hit .402-6-38 while going 10-1 and walking just two batters all season.
Harvey has run his fastball up to 93 mph and exhibits near pinpoint control.
"I plan to pitch again next year," he said, "but I really enjoy hitting more. Ive been hitting with wood the last two summers and I always take BP with wood before high school games. My goal is to play pro ball right out of high school."
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