Major League Baseball's amateur draft will be held from June 7th-9th, so we're going to introduce you to some of the top players available between now and then.
Prior to the season, the story of UNC righty Matt Harvey was an unfortunate one. He and Rick Porcello were considered the top two high school pitchers in the 2007 draft, though Harvey priced himself into the third round and declined to sign with the Angels as the 118th overall pick. While Porcello was busy establishing himself as one of the game's best young pitchers, Harvey was struggling with the Tar Heels and his stock took a significant hit.
The good news is that an improved delivery has helped turn Harvey back in a prospect, and he's once again in the mix for the first round. ESPN's Keith Law and Baseball America are in agreement that he is the 20th best player available in next week's draft. Harvey owns one of the best fastballs in the class, which MLB.com's Draft Report says is up 96-97 mph. The great curveball he showed in high school is now inconsistent, but he's added a decent changeup and slider to his repertoire. There's a chance he may wind up in the bullpen down the road. The MLB.com link has video.
During Harvey's first two years on campus he walked 89 batters in 142.2 innings of work, not to mention the 18 wild pitches he threw. His strikeout rate was very good at 10.2 K/9, but it didn't mitigate all the free passes. Through 14 starts and 96 innings this spring, Harvey posted a 102/35 K/BB ratio, though he still chucked nine wild pitches.
Baseball America's Jim Callis projected the Mets to take Harvey with the seventh overall pick in his latest mock draft, while Law had him going to Diamondbacks at number six (sub. req'd for both). However, Law did say the Mets have been heavily linked the righty, and Yasmani Grandal's reported deal with the Royals could push him into their laps. Harvey is a Scott Boras client, so whoever drafts him shouldn't expect a discount for his struggles as a freshman and sophomore.