Matt watched the draft on television and waited for his name to be called. He saw the Giants draft Bumgarner with the 10th pick. (They would sign him for $2 million.) He saw the Tigers take Porcello, who slid because of his price tag, with the 27th pick. (They would sign him for a $7 million package that included a $3.58 million bonus.) The first round went by. The supplemental round went by. The second round went by.
"I was like, Oh, man," Harvey says. "I didn't have that bad of a senior year. Just because I didn't hit 98, I dropped that much? It made me mad about major league baseball. It's something I'll always remember.
"That's why with arbitration and free agency and all those things, what happened when I was 18 will be in the back of my mind. Did it bring any doubt? It now brings the opposite: Don't ever have a doubt.... That [moment] was the biggest thing in my career so far."
Finally, in the third round, with the 118th pick, the Angels drafted Harvey. Twenty-three high school pitchers were taken ahead of him, 17 of whom have never pitched a day in the big leagues. Only two, Porcello and Bumgarner, are starting for the teams that drafted them.
Bane was the Angels' scouting director at the time. In past years he had been successful drafting top high school players with signability issues and convincing them to sign. He had the same game plan in mind for Harvey: He figured $1.5 million would be the magic number. Only after the pick did Bane learn that owner Arte Moreno was not going to authorize that kind of money.
The truth is, Harvey badly wanted to sign. He didn't dream of pitching in college. He dreamed of being a major leaguer and wanted to get on the path as soon as possible. On Aug. 15, with a midnight deadline to sign, Harvey played golf in the morning with some friends and went home and waited. The Angels e-mailed an offer in the afternoon: $1 million. Harvey e-mailed back his rejection and waited for a response. By 11:30 p.m. there had been no further contact between the two sides. Harvey sat at the dining room table with his mother, watching the clock. Ed couldn't stand what was going on. He paced in the backyard. "He was pretty angry," Matt says. "He was doing circles in the backyard, knocking down plants. He probably had the biggest chew you could possibly fit in your mouth."
Ed describes himself as having descended from "shanty Irish," someone who grew up with nothing and started his working life with less: He was $6,000 in debt when he began coaching. He thought about all the stories he had heard about kids who were drafted out of high school, didn't sign and were never drafted again. He thought about his own story: He might have been a marginal pro himself, but he hurt his knee playing football at Connecticut and was never the same. Now his 18-year-old son was sitting in the dining room with no intention of taking $1 million to play baseball.
Matt and Jackie looked up at the clock. It said 12:01. "Well," Matt said, breaking the silence, "I guess I'm going to college."
"At that point," Matt says, "I really realized what I wanted to get into was as much of a business as it was a game. I never had known that. I was playing pickup games and stuff like that and all of a sudden I'm turning down a million dollars at 18 years old."
He had just two days to pack and get to North Carolina. Porcello and Bumgarner went off to pro ball and would be in the big leagues two years later. Harvey wasn't eligible to be drafted for another three. He was miserable. "It was really bad," he says of his attitude as a freshman. "I'm surprised they didn't give me the boot. I turned down a million dollars and had no money and a crappy Jeep when I could have been driving anything I wanted."