Hunter Harvey was the scheduled starter for Double-A Bowie on Monday in what would have been his first outing above Class A ball. Instead, he's be making an even bigger jump.
The Orioles have promoted their No. 4 prospect all the way up to the Major Leagues, the organization announced Monday. Harvey is expected to work out of the Baltimore bullpen with No. 6 prospect Tanner Scott optioned to Triple-A Norfolk to make room on the 25-man roster.
Though a first Major League promotion is a big deal for any prospect, Monday's transaction seems especially large given Harvey's career so far.
Selected with the 22nd overall pick in the 2013 Draft, the 6-foot-3 right-hander has thrown more than 30 innings in a season only once in nearly five years as a pro. After making 17 starts for Class A Delmarva in 2014, Harvey experienced a right elbow strain that limited him that season and kept him off the mound completely in 2015. He returned to make five short-season starts in June and July of 2016 but ultimately underwent Tommy John surgery that sidelined him another 12 months. The 23-year-old struck out 30 and allowed two earned runs over 18 2/3 innings in 2017 between the Gulf Coast League, Class A Short Season Aberdeen and Delmarva.
When healthy, Harvey has earned plus grades for both his low-to-mid-90s fastball and curveball, and his changeup is the solid third offering that gives him a Major League starter's ceiling. Because of that package of pitches, the Orioles overlooked Harvey's injury history and added him to the 40-man roster last November to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. Harvey made three Grapefruit League starts with the big club this spring, giving up three earned runs on nine hits and four walks while fanning seven in seven frames.
"Hunter's a very mature kid. He's also a tough kid who's worked really hard to get back to where he is now," Orioles director of player development Brian Graham told MiLB.com's Kelsie Heneghan last month. "He has size, he has velocity, he has all the qualities you want in a front-line pitcher."
This is just the latest in a series of recent Baltimore bullpen moves. The O's played 14 innings in a win over the Yankees last Friday and 12 frames in another victory in the Bronx on Sunday. Scott went 1 2/3 innings in the latest win, and Harvey could replace him as the emergency long man role.