With at least a dozen scouts watching his every move in each game he competes, Hunter Harvey continues to impress.
The Bandys senior pitcher is focused on a potential future playing professional baseball, but is trying to make the most of his last season on the mound for the Trojans.
Harvey spent most of this past summer being looked at by around 400 scouts at the East Coast Showcase in Syracuse, N.Y.
The experience aided Harvey to not feel pressure while being watched by Major League teams.
“It helps me more than anything,” he said. “It gets my adrenaline pumping. I get a little more (speed) behind the ball. It helps me throw a little bit harder.”
In front of about 15 scouts this past Friday, including representatives from the Rays, Giants and Twins, Harvey threw his hardest fastball so far in his young pitching career — a 97 mph heater.
“His arm speed is good,” said Hunter’s father, Bryan. “This is what we have prepared basically 10 years for. We’ve done the work that we have to do in the winter time with our throwing program, long toss and all of that. We have not played too much baseball. We play the high school season and some (American) Legion ball. We don’t do the travel ball or all of that. We try to take care of him. Now, it’s time for him to show it off.”
It’s not just Hunter’s high-velocity pitches that are shining through.
His curveball reached 79 mph during Friday’s game.
Hunter has really tried to work on and develop his off-speed pitches.
“I’ve just put in a lot of work,” he said. “I’ve been working really hard. I long tossed for three or four months, and just working with my dad and brother has improved everything.”
One of Hunter’s biggest struggles has been with his physique.
While he stands 6-foot-3, Hunter weighs 175 pounds.
“He’s gotten taller, but we haven’t gotten much weight on him,” Bryan said. “We’ve tried everything to get him to gain some weight. Once he gets to a place where he can get a good workout in, he’ll gain some weight.”
Hunter comes from a pedigree of pitchers.
Bryan played in the majors with the California Angels (1987-92) and Florida Marlins (1993-95).
Bryan was named the American League’s Relief Man of the Year in 1991 and was a also two-time All-Star (1991, 1993).
Hunter’s brother, Kris, played in the minor leagues for Pittsburgh and Florida after being drafted out of Clemson University.
Hunter said both family members have given him a lot of advice.
“Just don’t let your head get out of the game,” he said. “Stay in the game, help everybody and play the game the way you know how to play it.”
Even though one of his sons has gone through the draft process, Bryan still gets jitters watching Hunter pitch on the mound.
“It’s never easy going for me,” he said. “I can watch them play a position and hit pretty easy, but when they are on the mound, I am a wreck. It’s all crawling inside. I got to go through (the draft process) with Kris. That was fun. He had a lot of scouts watch him pitch just like Hunter does.”
Many pundits have Harvey ranked as one of the top 50 draft eligible high school senior baseball players in the country.
While his future is bright, Hunter is focused on the present.
“Right now, I’m just worried about the season,” he said. “When the draft comes around, that’s when I’m going to start worrying about that. Right now, I’m just going to play with my teammates, have fun and hopefully win a state championship this year.”