Baseball is a game of perseverance. Skill is necessary to succeed, but so is possessing the will to get past whatever obstacles get in your way—both on and off the field. Nobody knows this better than Milwaukee Brewers pitching prospect Seth Harvey.
The right-hander was originally drafted in the 43rd round of the 2009 draft out of Washington State University by the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, he decided to go back and finish what he had started academically and athletically with the Cougars. The decision was a good one, as he wound up being taken by the Brewers the following year in the 37th round.
A reliever, Harvey has enjoyed success during his first five professional seasons when he has been healthy. He has gone a combined 10-4 with a 3.31 ERA and 30 saves in 102 games. He has also struck out an impressive 179 batters in 144 innings while permitting just 129 hits and four home runs. Unfortunately, Tommy John surgery has delayed his progress and made his road all the more difficult. Nevertheless, he continues to push forward in an attempt to reach the majors and ply his craft on the biggest stage.
A couple of years ago I was able to connect with Harvey and ask him some questions about his career. You can also keep up with him on Twitter. All the best to him as the 2015 season approaches!
Seth Harvey Interview:
If you could sit down and pick the brain of any pitcher, current or former, who would that be and why?: Without hesitation, only one guy comes to mind. Mariano Rivera. I believe he is one of the best pitchers of all time and one of the most mentally strong performers in the game. I would love to ask him about his thought process and his overall development as a player and person throughout his career and parallel that to my career.
Leading up to the 2010 MLB draft, what kind of contact and recruiting were you getting from different teams?: Quite honestly, I was not getting too much contact or recruiting from any teams. There was a point during the draft that I was preparing for a future without baseball after I missed the second day of the draft. However, I was blessed with an opportunity on that final day to join the Milwaukee Brewers organization and I have enjoyed every minute of it.
Can you run through what your draft was like?: It began on the final day of the draft. I received a phone call from the scout that signed me, Brandon Newell, early in the morning. Basically, he told me that I had been selected in the 37th round and was congratulating me. From there, we got the contract faxed and ready to go, and I was signed into it about five hours later and preparing for the report to Arizona.
What pitches do you throw and which one do you hope to improve the most?: Currently I have a three pitch mix. Fastball, change-up, and slider. I’ve been developing a cut-fastball and will have that dialed in by the time I report to spring training. I would like to improve the consistency of my pitches, more-so than the actual pitch itself. If I am able to repeatedly control my pitches and throw them where I want
in all counts, that is a great foundation for success.
What do you enjoy most about playing for the Milwaukee organization?: Milwaukee is a great organization and it starts at the top with great management and staff. The coaches have all been helpful and are very knowledgeable about the game, so combining those two huge factors; it’s made for an incredible experience. I cannot leave out the teammates. The group of guys in this organization
is incredible and I have made some lifelong friends for sure.
What is one thing you would change about your professional career if you could go back in time?: As you gain experience and knowledge year after year, you find yourself learning how to prepare yourself better. My first offseason, I don't feel that I prepared the way I should have. I was working hard, in great shape and ready for spring training, but there were a few things I could have done different that would have benefitted me come spring. The way I prepared early in my career would be the one thing I would have changed.
Why did you decide to go back to school instead of signing with the Angels in 2009?: There were two main factors that influenced my decision. One was my education. Here was an opportunity to complete my degree in Criminal Justice and finish what I had started three years prior. The second was my team at Washington State University. The program was on the rise and we had a great chance to do something special that next season. This was something that I would never get to experience again, a run at a national title with a very special group of guys. The combination of finishing my degree and being a part of WSU Baseball led to the delay of going pro.
What kind of mentality do you have to have to be a closer or reliever?: I don't know if there is one word to describe the mentality you need to be a closer or a reliever. You must be able to live in the present moment, not hold onto the past pitch or past outing. A constant confidence and trust in yourself, your pitches and your team. Emotionally constant, having the ability to control your passion and erasing your fears and doubts. All of these attributes allow a pitcher to focus one pitch a time, and by doing that, you are allowing yourself to have the opportunity to have success.
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