One of the more exciting times around MLB is always draft day.
For players, organizations and young draftees alike, the day that a high school or college kid gets drafted is a great day all around, and provides a huge ray of hope for both the player and the organization that chooses him.
The Orioles stockpiled some high school talent this past Friday, taking a right-handed pitcher with their first pick, No. 22 overall, in the draft.
Let's take a look at two of the top picks for the O's in this draft and make some bold predictions about their futures.
Hunter Harvey, RHP—A pitcher from Brandys High School in Catawba, N.C., Harvey shows the potential to one day be a front-of-the-rotation starter, just like the first-round picks the Orioles made the last two years (Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman).
The righty is the son of former major league closer Bryan Harvey. With no college commitment, the 6'3", 175-pound pitcher seems eager to agree to terms with the Orioles and begin his professional baseball career.
On future contract talks with the O's, Harvey told Steve Melewski of masnsports, "I think it will be a very quick process. I've been waiting for this moment my whole life and now it's finally here. I don't want to mess around, I'm kind of ready to go start playing."
With a fastball that sits around 90-94 mph and a solid curveball, Harvey appears to have a very nice makeup coming out of high school, but he'll need to add at least one more pitch to the mix to be an effective major league starting pitcher.
I predict that Harvey will be quick to rise to the majors. If he's as serious as he said he is about signing soon and starting his pro career, then he will be able to pitch in the minors this season, introducing him to his professional baseball life and giving him a jump-start on his carer.
He will be able to build on that going into the 2014 season, and since he'll add a changeup to his repertoire and possibly even another pitch, he'll breeze through the minor leagues, pressing the issue for justifying a call-up to the big league squad.
Therefore, Harvey will be either a September call-up in 2014 or make the Opening Day roster in 2015, a track that would be extremely fast for any player coming out of high school.
Not only that, but Harvey will become an anchor in the Orioles starting rotation for years to come—and when the time comes, extend with the team for a four=year commitment, showing loyalty to the team and the city of Baltimore.
Josh Hart, OF—Another high school player, Hart is a speedy outfielder who bats and throws from the left side. He is said to be a gap-to-gap hitter and has a college commitment to Georgia Tech.
With the potential to be a five-tool player, Hart stands 5'11" and weighs 172 pounds, which isn't a bad size at all. Both he and Harvey should grow into bigger builds, especially when they start professional baseball training programs.
Should the O's agree to terms with Hart, I see it taking long enough that he won't have an opportunity to start his pro career this year and will instead have to wait until 2014.
I think he'll take his time getting through the minor leagues. He won't face terrible failure at any level, but will be challenged by all. He'll also need time to fully adjust with each step. There's nothing wrong with that, though, as he'll eventually succeed everywhere he goes and will reach the big leagues by age 22 or 23.
Upon his big league arrival, Hart will be a five-tool player, but not one who is just overwhelming in every facet of the game. He'll be the type of guy who can do a little bit of everything as opposed to a lot of everything, and he'll take over left field, doing a nice job and providing a solid option to bat leadoff or second in the lineup.
Eventually, Hart will become trade bait for the team, and the two sides will move on.
And that does it for my predictions for the Orioles' top two draft picks. Agree/disagree? Let me hear about it in the comments section!