Where do you see Hunter Harvey beginning and ending this season?
It has already been announced that Hunter Harvey will begin the season with Single-A Delmarva. He will likely be their opening day starter. Harvey has the ability to become one of the highest rising prospects this season, and we could be looking at one of the best pitching prospects in the entire minors by the end of 2014. All reports on Harvey have him already adding a tick in velocity this spring. After seeing him pitch and honestly embarrass hitters at Aberdeen last year, I have no doubt that he should cruise along in the SALLY league. It would not shock me to see him end the season at Bowie. Maybe only a cup of coffee or a “congrats for doing so well”, but I think he at the very least will see some time at Frederick to round out the season. Hunter Harvey is really good, although he is still raw and volatile as a prospect. If the Orioles feel that he needs to get innings in or work on a few minor things, they might keep him at Delmarva longer than fans want.
What is your opinion on Gene Escat. He was drafted in 2012, and it seems like they want to rush him up the system. He played 7 games in Aberdeen and then rest in Delmarva. Spent the whole season in 2013 with Frederick. He said that he thought he’d be back for 2014. What do you think?
Escat is what I like to call an Organization Player with hope. Essentially, the Orioles keep him around and he fills a certain role for the club while providing depth. They may not necessarily expect him to become much, but there is enough in the players’ ability to keep him around in hope that something clicks or he drastically improves. Escat has good feel for pitching and solid command, but the arsenal is quite average. I have not seen him in a year, so I cannot really speak to how he has improved since last season. As a college guy, it really is not all too uncommon for a player to not play much in the lower minors. More often than not, relief arms will move on to High-A quicker than other players such as a Adrian Marin or Parker Bridwell.
What minor league roster excites you the most?
In order from greatest to least excitement:
-Delmarva is the place to go. Chance Sisco, Hunter Harvey, Josh Hart and many other talented prospects are starting there. There will be someone to watch on the diamond every night.
-Bowie has a tremendous pitching staff and will be equally as exciting, although they do have a bunch of minor league veterans mixed in as well – guys that have been around the block.
-Frederick is lacking on the prospect side and is generally filled with inconsistent talent or prospects that have some big flaws. A few names here, but generally an unexciting roster to start the year.
-Norfolk is AAA. Not much else to say besides they have minor league veterans and Kevin Gausman. There are a few other intriguing guys, but AAA is always the least exciting for me.