Hunter Harvey, Orioles’ teen No. 1 draft pick, may be the worst contract negotiator ever

It’s a good thing Hunter Harvey has a heck of a pitching arm, because he sure doesn’t have a future as a contract negotiator. He certainly has no understanding of the concept of leverage.

Orioles first round pick Hunter Harvey has made it very clear he's going to sign — Under Armour All-America Game
Orioles first round pick Hunter Harvey has made it very clear he's going to sign — Under Armour All-America Game

Harvey, a right-handed fireballing pitcher from Catawba (N.C.) Bandys High was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the first round of the MLB First Year Draft, selected number 22 overall. That’s a position where teams usually want to be awfully sure that they can sign a player before they select them. It comes with a suggested signing bonus of $1,947,600 signing bonus, a number which will be a bargain if Harvey achieves anywhere near the incredible 0.38 ERA and 116 strikeouts he recorded in 54 2/3 innings as a senior.

If Harvey is to be believed, there could never have been any such concerns about his future. Both the teen and his father, former MLB pitcher Bryan Harvey, are on the record with the fact that Hunter has “never really been a fan of college.”

That quote was offered up to Baseball America’s Ben Bader, and came from the younger Harvey just moments after he was picked by the Orioles.

In that way, Hunter Harvey is very much like his father. USA Today dug up a 1993 profile of Bryan Harvey in which the Angels and Marlins pitcher admitted to dropping out of UNC Charlotte because he “wasn’t too much into school.”

Roughly two weeks before the draft, on May 22, the Harveys gave a joint interview to in which they re-affirmed the aversion they both feel to higher education. In that interview, Bryan Harvey admitted that the family had never even considered sending Hunter to a four-year college, and that there was little doubt that his son would turn his back on junior colleges where he could play a year and then re-enter the draft.

"I don't want to play games with anybody, so we've told everybody all along that we want to sign [with a Major League team]," Bryan Harvey told MLB said. "[Hunter] wants to go play baseball. That puts nothing in the way -- they know his signability is there.

"I knew we would never commit to a four-year school, but there's a couple of junior colleges that we really like. If things don't work out in a couple of weeks, I don't think it'll be a problem getting him into one of them."

That clearly won’t be necessary now. The Hayes’ have said they’re happy to sign a contract for the designated “slot” money which MLB recommends teams should pay the 22nd overall pick.

“They’ve got a plan and we’re just following their plan,” Bryan Harvey told the Hickory Record. “I thought it would be slot money and let’s go play some ball.

“I was hoping it would be that simple. I don’t think there should be much negotiating [needed].”

Naturally, the approach is a refreshing one in a time of constant subterfuge as players and their agents wrangle for every last dollar. Still, given the duration of MLB rookie contracts and the questions that come with all MLB prospects, shouldn’t a father be a bit more close to the vest about his son’s future, if only to help land him a more lucrative contract?

If the younger Harvey is successful, as much as his father was or more, there won’t be much worry about the initial money. Instead, we'll all be left to wonder what Hunter Harvey ever would have done with his life if baseball hadn’t worked out.

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