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Chris Harvey Signs With the Pirates as a Free Agent

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This is actually not that surprising.

Chris Harvey.
Chris Harvey.

According to Middle Tennessee Sports Extra, catcher/DH Chris Harvey has signed an undrafted free agent contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Harvey is a mammoth of a man who was either injured or buried behind excellent catchers (Spencer Navin until this year, and then eventually Karl Ellison and Jason Delay this year), but still has potential in his bat.  While I don't believe he'll be able to stick at catcher, his bat might play as a corner OF or 1B if he can harness the massive power he possesses.

In my 2014 MLB Draft Preview: Commodores Edition, I identified Harvey as either a late round draftee, undrafted free agent, or someone likely to transfer for more playing time.  Here's what I wrote way back on June 5th, when Vanderbilt did not even have a College World Series title:

Chris Harvey: C

BA Top 500 Rank: NR

Projected Draft Slot: Rd. 20-Undrafted

Don't laugh.  This is an actual possibility, as he was a 5 star recruit who came to college early.  Scouts who had him earmarked three years ago as a guy to watch might go to bat for him towards the later rounds of the draft.

Chances He'll Return: Low.  He's been passed over by freshmen catchers Jason Delay and Karl Ellison, so if no team takes a flyer on him, he's a prime candidate to transfer.

I actually believe in Chris Harvey, and the Pirates just stole a potentially huge power bat who's still only 20 years old for the cost of organizational fodder.  He'll have to switch positions and learn how to hit righties as well as he hits lefties (or at least come close) to move up in their system, but he's a good bat to buy low on.

Go after your dreams, Chris.  While you might not have had the Vanderbilt career you, I, or the coaching staff envisioned, that doesn't mean you can't turn it around in the minors.  You're going to have to work your way up from rookie league ball, but Hall of Famers like Larry Bowa have gone the UFA route, and he was no former 5 star recruit.

Harvey, we'll be rooting for you to join Pedro Alvarez on the big club.