The San Francisco Giants took a chance on often-injured relief pitcher Hunter Harvey on Friday, picking him up off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles in the hopes that a change in coasts will also result in a change of luck.
If healthy, Hunter Harvey can be a boost for the San Francisco Giants in 2022
The 26-year-old right-hander is a former first-round pick of the Orioles, tabbed with the 22nd overall pick in the 2013 MLB draft. However, his time in the Baltimore organization resembled nothing short of a horror film when it came to injuries. A look at his transaction log shows everything from Tommy John surgery in 2016 (when he was Baltimore’s top prospect) to a right forearm strain that took away opportunities during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
Harvey also struggled mightily with injuries in 2021, derailing his hopes for making a large impact out of the Baltimore bullpen. An oblique strain, a lat strain, and then a triceps strain that occurred during rehab of the lat injury (an occurrence that Harvey even admits he doesn’t know how it happened) limited him to just 8.2 innings over nine games in 2021.
So there’s the knock on Harvey, the son of former MLB closer Bryan Harvey. However, here’s the side the San Francisco Giants likely saw: When Harvey has been in the game, he’s been solid. He has an ERA of 3.42 in 26 career games (23.2 innings), allowing 19 hits and striking out 23 while posting a 141 ERA+ and 1.183 WHIP.
San Francisco is taking the chance that Harvey can stay healthy and be effective. He isn’t arbitration-eligible until 2023, so the Giants can take that chance with very few financial implications.
Harvey is entering the offseason with a mindset of doing whatever it takes to stay healthy, with the hopes of topping a career-high 10 appearances in 2020.
"“I know I can do it,” Harvey told MASN’s Roch Kubatko in this October interview. “It’s just a matter of staying healthy. That’s the biggest thing for me. We’ve been talking about this for how many years now? But I know I can do it, I can pitch there. It’s just a matter of being able to stay healthy and pitch for a full season. It’s just a matter of getting my body to hold up long enough to achieve that.”"
If Harvey can pitch for a full season, the Giants could have struck gold by rolling the dice on a waiver wire claim.