- Full name Kenneth Eugene Harvey
- Born 03/01/1978 in Los Angeles, CA
- Profile Ht.: 6'2" / Wt.: 250 / Bats: R / Throws: R
- School Nebraska
- Debut 09/18/2001
Drafted in the 5th round (151st overall) by the Kansas City Royals in 1999.
View Draft ReportSix-foot-1, 250-pound 1B Ken Harvey also wields a big stick and led NCAA Division I in hitting heading into postseason play. He was over .500 most of the year. Scouts describe him as a shorter Frank Thomas. He has long arms for his short, thick frame and swings the bat aggressively. He is immobile around the bag and is really a one-tool player for practical purposes.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Harvey tried a new stance similar to Jeff Bagwell's in 2002. He batted .277--58 points off his previous career low--but everything came together for him in the Arizona Fall League. He was the league MVP after setting records for batting (.479), slugging (.752) and on-base percentage (.537). Harvey uses a unique grip, overlapping his hands as he goes into his trigger mechanism, with his right hand covering half of his left. With his inside-out, line-drive swing, Harvey smokes the ball up the middle and to the opposite field. He could add power as he learns which pitches to drive in specific counts. Despite putting in plenty of work on his defense, Harvey will struggle to become an average first baseman. He lacks first-step quickness, which also rules out a switch to left field, and his hands are stiff. He doesn't walk much, more because of his ability to make contact than a poor eye. His weight is a concern. Harvey has one above-average tool, but he has left no question he can rake. His AFL campaign should catapult him into Kansas City's 2003 plans as a DH.
Few hitters can match Harvey's résumé. He won batting titles in NCAA Division I (.478) and the short-season Northwest League (.397) in 1999. He might have done the same in the Carolina League if he hadn't been injured in 2000 or promoted in 2001. His overall .350 average ranked fourth in the minors last year. Harvey's bat caught George Brett's eye--or rather his ears--with the sound the ball makes coming off it. He uses a wide-open stance and laces line drives and gappers to the opposite field. Though he has just 27 homers in 220 pro games, the Royals believe he has the strength to hit with plus power. Though he runs OK for his size, Harvey doesn't offer much besides his bat. He has stiff hands at first base and may move to left field, where he'd do less damage. His ability to put the bat on the ball actually works against him in terms of drawing walks. While Harvey made his major league debut last September, he'll probably spend most of 2002 in Triple-A. Mike Sweeney is a free agent after this season, so the first-base job could be his in 2003.
Harvey is the highest-ranking player on this list who wasn't a first-round draft pick. He won the NCAA Division I (.478) and short-season Northwest League (.397) batting titles in 1999, and might have done the same in the high Class A Carolina League in 2000 had a toe injury not sidelined him. Harvey doesn't have a classic baseball physique, but he can hit for average and gap power. He excels at hitting to the opposite field and has the size to develop over-the-fence power if he starts pulling more pitches. For his size, he runs surprisingly well. Despite having surgery on his right foot after the 1999 season, Harvey never fully recovered and played just 46 games in 2000. Though he's listed at 240 pounds, he was up to 255 this season and must watch his weight. He has stiff hands that limit his effectiveness at first base. Harvey showed that high Class A pitchers were no match for him. He's probably ready for Double-A despite just 102 games of pro experience. He could put up huge numbers at Double-A Wichita and Omaha, which have hitter's parks in hitter's leagues.
Minor League Top Prospects
Because Harvey has what charitably can be called a stocky build and isn't much of an athlete, he lasted until the fifth round of the 1999 draft. He sandwiched the NCAA Division I batting title (.478) and short-season Northwest League crown (.397) around his selection. It took a right toe injury to finally get him out, as he missed most of 2000. He returned to ravage Carolina League pitching so thoroughly that he was promoted to Double-A in mid-May. His wide-open stance allows him to turn on inside pitches, making him a threat to all fields. "He was the purest hitter in the league," Garber said. "He has the ability to hit to all fields with power." Harvey's strikeout-walk ratio deteriorated significantly after his promotion, a flaw he'll need to address. His bat will have to carry him because he's stiff at first base and is better suited to DH.
A former NCAA Division I batting champ, Harvey makes consistent, hard contact. He's below average with a glove, as much a product of his size as his ability, but he's at home with a bat in his hands. "I'm still not sure about his defense, but he handles a wood bat as well as he did a metal one," an AL scout said. "He reminds me a lot of Daryle Ward when he started with the Tigers." "I like the sound he makes in batting practice," said a man who knows about such things, Royals vice president George Brett. "It has that explosive pop that will get your attention even if you're looking the other way." As happy to take an opposite-field double as to swing for the fences, Harvey has yet to display power proportional to his bulk. He also needs to increase his walk total.
Best Tools List
- Rated Best Hitter for Average in the Kansas City Royals in 2001