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All American Game : : Story

Published: Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Two weeks ago Chris Harvey joined a collection of the nation’s best high school players and future Major League Baseball draft prospects in San Diego for the Perfect Game All-American Classic.

There, players stretching from California to Florida were united by one common trait – their ability to play the game of baseball at a high level.

Harvey, though, now stands out among the rest. While the rest of the players that competed in the PG All-American Classic will test the MLB draft waters next summer, Harvey opted to take the same road as former college players such as UCLA’s Trevor Bauer, Long Beach State’s Jake Thompson and fellow former All-American Robert Stock of USC.

Harvey, a Vanderbilt signee who begins classes in Nashville, Tenn., on Wednesday, opted to skip his senior year of high school to attend college, a move that some college coaches hope becomes the norm as a way to beat the MLB system.

I kind of got the idea to do it when I committed last fall, but I committed to enrolling early this summer. It gives me an extra year in college,” Harvey said. “But most importantly, it gives me another chance to get to Omaha and win a national title.”

Now certainly is a good time for Harvey to join the Commodores. They reached the College World Series for the first time last season, and the ‘Dores will be breaking in a new catcher after veteran Curt Casali graduated following a campaign where he hit .303 with seven home runs and 53 RBIs.

Time will tell if Harvey can step in and provide an immediate big boost. But it’s safe to say he has the tools and experience to do so.

The Norristown, Pa., native, has a large frame at 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, and has plenty of experience competing at an elite level. He competed in 18 Perfect Game showcases and tournaments throughout his high school career and is ranked 54 nationally, 1 in Pennsylvania and 5 at the catcher position.

I gained a lot of experience through those PG events, and it’s where Vanderbilt saw me for the first time,” Harvey said. “The coaches liked what they saw from me and I have to say going to those events was a huge part of the recruiting process for me.”

Harvey may remind Vanderbilt fans of a familiar face.

Harvey is very similar in many ways to Curt Casali. Casali, who is also from the Northeast, was a switch hitter but both he and Harvey are tall, angular catchers who are quick and athletic for their size, while also having good arms and some power,” said David Rawnsley, PG’s Director of Scouting. “I think Harvey will adjust very quickly to the college game, as he hits breaking pitches very well and despite being from the Northeast, has played plenty of high level baseball against top competition.”

Harvey will soon have the chance to show the Commodores what he brings to the table. But in the meantime, he’s busy getting acclimated to the college environment. He arrived in Nashville this past weekend and spent much of Monday in orientations.

After leaving home and arriving at Vanderbilt, a typical high school senior might feel home sick or regret their decision to attend college a year early. Not Harvey. If anything, his feelings the first few days only reinforce the decision.

All the guys I talked to about the decision loved doing it, and so far I love the decision, too,” he said. “Now I’m ready to get out on the field. Being a big guy, I’m always trying to improve my flexibility and mobility. I want to do everything I possibly can to be able to get out there and catch every game.”

This Perfect Game All-American is on the fast track.

 
 
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