At 27, Joe Harvey is in the big leagues. Selected by the Yankees in the 19th round of the 2014 draft out of the University of Pittsburgh, he didn’t make it to Double-A until 2018.
He thought about leaving baseball but decided to stick with it and was called up to the big club last week. In his debut the righty struck out George Springer and pitched two scoreless innings against the Astros.
He spoke to NY Sports Day after Saturday’s 4-0 win over the White Sox.
NYSD: Now that you’ve been here a few days how do you like it?
JH: It’s awesome. Like I’ve said a couple of times now, it’s a hundred times better than anything you can dream of. It’s just the best thing you could ever — you dream of it as a kid, you dream of it as an adult and you get here and it’s just even better, so it’s awesome.
NYSD: How does it feel after six years in the minors? Does that make it even better?
JH: Yeah. The hard work and some of the setbacks definitely makes it a little bit better knowing that you fought through that but once you get here it’s just all about winning. I’m glad we got that win today. Yeah, it’s good.
NYSD: Did you ever get worried that you might not make it?
JH: Yeah. I was actually telling someone today that in 2017, I was actually in extended at the start of May, end of April, start of May. And I was like, ‘Man, I’m about to just — I’ll give it two more weeks and if I’m not out g here I’m going to hang it up.’ And then I ended up going to High-A Tampa a week later and stuck with it and then that was that. So yeah, definitely thought about quitting multiple times.
NYSD: What would you have done?
JH: Just went back to school, got my degree, getting a history degree and from there I had really no plans.
NYSD: Did you have a certain pitcher you were trying to emulate or do you have a favorite pitcher?
JH: When I was in college I was trying to pitch like [Craig] Kimbrel, like high fastballs, stuff like that. I don’t have nearly the breaking ball that he has but I just loved the way he pitched and from there on out I just kind of developed into my own pitcher. I didn’t watch a ton of baseball growing up.
NYSD: It’s funny, a lot of guys in the minors, they’re starters and then maybe they come up and they’re converted into relievers but you had always been in the bullpen. Why do you think your stuff played better out of the pen?
JH: I was always described as a max-effort guy. Those guys are out of the bullpen, especially in college. I was drafted as a senior so I was a little older, put in the bullpen. After you get injured there’s not really much time. I was kind of old so it was just kind of, ‘alright, you’re a bullpen guy,’ and just climbing the ladder.
NYSD: Any favorite place in the city yet?
JH: No. Not really. I live about an hour and 45 minutes south outside Philadelphia. I don’t really come up here a lot though.