|Born: July 8, 1987
Height: 5′ 8″
Drafted: 6th Round, 191st Overall, 2008
How Acquired: Trade (for John Grabow/Tom Gorzelanny)
Agent: Jonathan Maurer
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Harrison came from the Cubs, along with RHPs Kevin Hart and Jose Ascanio, in exchange for LHPs John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny. He’s a classic case of a player with little in the way of tools who performs very well, at least in one or two areas. At the time of the 2008 draft, Baseball America’s assessment of Harrison was less than inspiring: won’t hit for power with wood bats, not good defensively, doesn’t pivot well, and only average speed. (The Pirates, by contrast, think he has good speed. You’d think this would be measurable somehow . . . .) Despite the assessment, Harrison has hit for average and decent to good gap power, made good contact, and shown some base stealing ability. He makes good contact, but will swing at nearly any pitch. Literally. Regardless of how fast he may be, he’s a good, aggressive baserunner. He hasn’t settled into any position and is not strong defensively. In the minors he played second, third and left, mostly just the first two after the Pirates acquired him. In the majors, the defensive stats suggest that he’s good at third, but poor at second.
Started off in short season ball and hit very well, with nearly twice as many walks as strikeouts. He moved up to low A after 33 games and just held his own in 31 games there. He played mostly second at both stops.
While he was still with the Cubs, Harrison divided his time between second, third and left. He spent two-thirds of the season in low A and hit well. He rarely walked or struck out. He played 18 games at high A with the Cubs before the trade. With Lynchburg after the trade he may have been pressing, because in 34 games he walked just once and fanned 19 times. If he hadn’t been hit with four pitches, his OBP would have been lower than his BA. He split time between second and third. For the season he did well running the bases.
Spent the season at Altoona and did well, hitting for average with doubles power. He struck out only once every ten ABs, but also didn’t walk much. He managed to drive in 75 runs with only four HRs. He started the season playing mainly second, but eventually settled in primarily at third and ended up playing two-thirds of his games there. The move may have had more to do with the fact that the Pirates wanted Jordy Mercer and Chase d’Arnaud at the middle infield positions.
Harrison opened the season at Indianapolis, playing two-thirds of the time at third and the rest at second. He had significant error problems, with very low fielding percentages of .897 at third and .950 at second. He continued to draw few walks and seldom strike out, and he showed a little more power. About two months into the season, with Pedro Alvarez and Steve Pearce both hurt, the Pirates called Harrison up. They sent him back down a couple of times, but not for very long due to their injury epidemic, so he ended up spending over half the season in the majors. Other than a few games spelling Neil Walker at second, he played third exclusively and did not have the error problems he did in the minors. He showed good contact ability and a little gap power, but absolutely no patience. He walked just three times in 204 plate appearances. He swung at pitches over his head, pitches that bounced in front of the plate, pitches that would have been behind a left-handed hitter. He said after one of his trips to the minors that the Pirates wanted him to be more patient, but he wasn’t. He drew no walks in 59 plate appearances in September.
The Pirates got Harrison work at shortstop in fall instructional league and in spring training to increase his usefulness as a utility infielder. Harrison also indicated that he realized he needs to take more pitches. He ended up having a big spring and made the team, serving for most of the year as the Pirates’ primary backup infielder. That included being the primary backup at shortstop, even when Jordy Mercer was in the majors. He doesn’t really belong at the position, but wasn’t horrible; the defensive stats show him to be below average, but not dramatically so, in a small sample size. Offensively, Harrison was very poor. His plate discipline improved from non-existent to nearly non-existent, but he hit very little.
Harrison’s primary value as a player is hitting for average, so he can’t be useful hitting .233. Given Harrison’s limitations defensively and the fact that he wasn’t hitting, it’s very hard to understand why Harrison played semi-regularly in September while Mercer got a whopping eight ABs. Harrison may spend all or most of 2013 in AAA, though, due to the Pirates’ acquisition of aging, no-hit infielders John McDonald and Brandon Inge. Harrison did start in the majors, though, due to Inge opening the season on the disabled list.
|2013: Major League Minimum
2011: Major League Minimum
|Signing Bonus: $144,500
MiLB Debut: 2008
MLB Debut: 5/31/2011
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2017
Rule 5 Eligible: Protected
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 1.095
|June 6, 2008: Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 6th round, 191st overall pick; signed on June 26.
July 30, 2009: Acquired by the Pittsburgh Pirates from the Chicago Cubs along with Kevin Hart and Jose Ascanio in exchange for John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny.
May 30, 2011: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.