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A refresher on Orioles prospect Hunter Harvey

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One of the newest members of the Orioles 40-man roster, Hunter Harvey is someone we don’t really know. Injuries have kept the once-lauded prospect out of sight and mind.

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Man, this offseason’s been buzzing.

The Orioles cranked up the Hot Stove by signing Ryan O’Rourke, a 29-year old LOOGY still rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. What followed could be described as an acid flashback of Wesley Wright.

Yesterday, the saga of Steve Wilkerson took a peculiar turn, with the Orioles opting against placing the fabled utility man on the 40-man roster. Will it be Ryan Flaherty? Or will Wilkerson go unclaimed? Find out during next week’s episode of That’s So Orioles.

Following the obvious Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb rumors reporting the Orioles are interested in the pair, the O’s hit on offseason bingo fairly quickly.

Dan Duquette signing more depth? Check. Rule-5 stuff built up like a bigger deal than it probably is, but the Orioles need all the help they can get and if Wilkerson is good, than that would stink, right? Check. Being connected to obvious free-agents that are probably not becoming Orioles? Check.

While there is a slight bit of pessimism there, the Orioles do things a little differently, and for the most part, it’s worked out. It’s perfectly normal to scoff at every aching move, and there are plenty of reasons to, but nothing has really happened yet. In terms of dictating the offseason movement, the Orioles are moving at the same pace as every other team, give or take a few. We still have a long ways to go. You never know what might happen.

Hunter Harvey being signed to the 40-man roster probably got overlooked because of the cult following both Steve Wilkerson and Austin Wynns have seemingly developed. It’s funny how Harvey, the 22nd overall pick four years ago, has been kind of swept under the rug.

Maybe this is a minority opinion, but it seems as if Harvey’s aura has noticeably dimmed. First it was an elbow strain that kept Harvey from pitching hardly at all in 2014 and none whatsoever in 2015. Most recently, Tommy John shelved the now-22-year-old for all but 31.1 innings over a two-year span. That kind of injury luck is forgettable in more ways than one.

But Harvey was a first-round pick for a reason, and was on all of the Top 100 lists because of that same evidence. Harvey has a heck of an arm, and we’re getting closer to seeing it.

Common sense would suggest that bad mechanics factor into compounding injuries. For Harvey, it seemed like he never had a chance.

This is Harvey in 2014, and you can see exactly why his electric fastball was self-described as too good for college. He has a very simple windup and delivery, yet he brings maximum effort on every pitch. With a big, tight curveball and a workable changeup, Harvey has all of the prerequisites you look for in a rising pitcher.

But his delivery was never going to work.

As a member of the Delmarva Shorebirds, Harvey came to the plate with practically no load, instead using excessive energy in his top side to compensate for an absent lower-half. It was asking a lot on his arm to produce the results that he did. Though there are no doctors here able to confirm, Harvey rode his arm for a lot of mileage, and it isn’t crazy to say his delivery was a contributor to it eventually crapping out.

So, after not pitching in a game where they keep score the whole time for just under two calendar years, Harvey appeared again in July of this year, looking a little bit different.

Harvey may still not be perfect, but he definitely manufactures a more efficient delivery in today’s form. There’s a rhythm to his newness, and in better news, he’s taken strain away from his arm by being looser with his legs. This should lead to decreasing the likelihood of further arm trouble. Such a development would be the best news, because despite not pitching much, he’s been good when he’s been healthy.

In 144.1 professional innings, Harvey has manufactured a strikeout rate of 37.3%, and an ERA of 2.48. With an average walk rate and minimal home run damage, Harvey has proven that he isn’t a Tyler Wilson or a Logan Verrett. He’s capable of better, because he is better.

Moving Harvey to the 40-man roster was a no-brainer, practically nothing more than a formality. But such a move can only suggest that Harvey is closer to being an Oriole than ever before, and if the comeback process continues its smooth operation, Harvey brings a presence only the likes of Dylan Bundy or Kevin Gausman could understand.