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Hunter Harvey only Orioles prospect on midseason top prospect lists

Orioles pitching prospect Hunter Harvey throws a bullpen session during the team's minicamp in Sarasota, Fla. Photo by Eduardo A. Encina/Baltimore Sun
Orioles pitching prospect Hunter Harvey throws a bullpen session during the team's minicamp in Sarasota, Fla. Photo by Eduardo A. Encina/Baltimore Sun (Eduardo A. Encina/Baltimore Sun / Baltimore Sun)

Orioles pitching prospect Hunter Harvey hasn't pitched in a game since spring training, but was the team's only minor leaguer represented on either of the midseason top prospect lists released by Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America.

Harvey was ranked No. 25 in Baseball Prospectus' Top 50, down slightly from his perch at the 20th spot in the February Top 101. Baseball America, which had Harvey at No. 68 in the offseason, did not rank him this week.

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Harvey was shut down at the end of 2014 with a flexor mass strain in his right elbow, but was impressive enough in Class-A Delmarva (7-5, 3.18 ERA in 87 2/3 innings with 106 strikeouts) at age 19 that he vaulted himself into the conversation of the game's best pitching prospects. His mid-90s fastball and sharp breaking ball were both developed way beyond a typical high school product, and he was a bulldog on the mound.

But after participating in big league camp this spring, Harvey fractured his shin and worked his way back toward joining an affiliate in extended spring training, but was again shut down with elbow stiffness. He's beginning a throwing program in Sarasota, Fla.

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Even without throwing a pitch this year, Harvey maintained  a relatively high ranking in the BP ranking. That was partially aided by the fact that so many top prospects from the offseason list were called up and not eligible, but Harvey has believers within the ranks of BP even with these injury issues.

The flip side of that is Dylan Bundy, who Baseball America has ranked as the Orioles' No. 1 pitching prospect the last four seasons and had as the 48th-best prospect in baseball after his return from Tommy John surgery last year. Baseball Prospectus was even higher on him — he was the No. 8 prospect in the February Top 101, second among pitchers to Nationals prospect Lucas Giolito.

But after compiling a 3.68 ERA in eight starts (22 innings) while pitching on an innings limit this season, Bundy went on the shelf in late May with shoulder stiffness that proved to be caused by calcification in his right shoulder.

He showed flashes of the pitcher he was before his elbow injury in 2013 — his fastball was creeping into the mid-to-high 90s and his breaking ball was getting some of the sharpness that made him one of the most polished young pitchers in baseball.

But the uncertainty surrounding his injury made it too difficult for those at Baseball Prospectus to put him in their top-50. A reader asked Baseball America's J.J. Cooper about Bundy in the chat that accompanied their rankings.

"That's an impossible question to answer because he doesn't rank because of injuries," Cooper wrote. "The Dylan Bundy we saw in 2012 was one of the best young pitching prospects any scout we talked to had ever seen. Guys gushed about how advanced he was with exceptional stuff. No one has seen that Dylan Bundy now in three full seasons. He was out all of 2013. He missed much of 2014 and he pitched sparingly this year. In neither 2014 or 2015 did he show that same dominant stuff that he had pre-injury. We talked to scouts who saw Bundy late last year say that if they didn't know he was Dylan Bundy, they would have NP'd (non-prospect) him when writing him up. We can all hope that Bundy will bounce back from this injury to become the dominant pitcher he was expected to become, but the odds of that happening after an elbow and shoulder injury are pretty frightening. He's always been willing to put in the work to be the best he can be, which is a good sign, but shoulder injuries are always disconcerting."

As for other candidates, the Orioles system doesn't really have the high-end talent that makes a short list like a top-50. Third baseman Jomar Reyes, who's 18-years-old and displaying a smooth swing with outstanding raw power at Delmarva, may make some postseason lists. Catcher Chance Sisco has missed several stretches with injury with High-A Frederick, but could hit his way onto the back end of some lists this fall.

Others, like pitchers Mike Wright, Tyler Wilson, and Zach Davies — all at Triple-A Norfolk — and first baseman Christian Walker and outfielder Dariel Alvarez — also have had success this season, but didn't find a home on these two lists.

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