Harvey ready to burst back onto scene in '16

O's righty looks to cement status as top prospect after missing all of '15

Harvey ready to burst back onto scene in '16

SARASOTA, Fla. -- This is a big year for Orioles top pitching prospect Hunter Harvey, who missed all of 2015 due to injury. But it's certainly not a make-or-break season for the promising young right-hander, who could impact the big league club as early as 2017.

"It's a big year, but it's certainly not critical," said director of player development Brian Graham. "Last year, wish it wouldn't have happened, but his arm is healthy and he's throwing the ball great."

Harvey, who fractured his fibula in Spring Training last year and dealt with elbow issues, suffered a minor setback on Tuesday, leaving an intrasquad game with a groin strain in the third inning. Harvey was slated to be evaluated on Wednesday, according to executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, and the team will be ultra-cautious with bringing the high-upside Harvey back.

He is expected to start the season with Class A Advanced Frederick after pitching for Class A Delmarva during the 2014 season.

"It'll be a good challenge for him, but he also has the stuff to pitch to a real high level soon," Graham said.

The 21-year-old Harvey is 7-6 with a 2.87 career ERA in 25 Minor League starts. The son of former Major Leaguer Bryan Harvey, he was Baltimore's first-round pick in 2013.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.