Harvey to Hawaii

Two prospects from the Class-A level of the Cubs farm system will be in Hawaii beginning next month for the start of winter ball.

The two players scheduled to play in Hawaii are OF Ryan Harvey and INF Nate Samson, Cubs Farm Director Oneri Fleita said Tuesday.

Harvey was the Cubs' first-round draft pick in 2003 from Dunedin High School in Dunedin, Fla. Still considered by most as the best power hitter in the Cubs' farm system, Harvey has played in 56 games for Class-A Daytona this season, batting .245 with 11 home runs, nine doubles and 33 RBIs.

"He's shown some flashes these last couple of months and if we can keep the guy healthy, he's got a chance to hit for a lot of power," Fleita said of Harvey. "That's something we don't have a whole lot of in the organization, and there's not a whole lot of it in the industry when you look around the minor leagues.

Harvey missed most of the first half of 2007 with a hamstring injury.

After returning from the disabled list in early July and taking a month to get his swing back, the 22-year-old Harvey is batting .284 in 27 games in August. Seven of his home runs have come in that span.

"We're going to send him to Hawaii and he'll get a chance to get some more at-bats. Maybe (he will) get a chance to get away from the organization and go over things with some new coaches from other organizations," said Fleita.

For his part, Samson was selected in the 34th round of the 2006 draft from Ocala (Fla.) Forest Senior High School.

A switch-hitting middle infielder, the 20-year-old Samson is batting .243 with seven extra-base hits in 56 games with Class-A Peoria.

"He's a rangy shortstop with a high ceiling and a great work ethic," Fleita said of Samson.

It is not yet clear which of the four teams Harvey and Samson will play for in Hawaii. Hawaii Winter Baseball returns for its second consecutive season after taking a 10-year sabbatical beginning in the late 90s.

The league is scheduled to begin play on Saturday, Sept. 29.

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