Throughout the 2018/2019 offseason, Marlin Maniac will devote one article each for every player who appeared in the Miami Marlins system for the 2018 season. Every. Single. Player. This is Part 125 of 286. For the first 100, click here.
Monte Fitzgerald Harrison is a 6’3″, 220 lb. center fielder from Lee’s Summit, Missouri.
Lees Summit has produced exactly one major leaguer, Walter Coleman, who pitched in one game for the St. Louis Browns in 1895. He lost, by the way, allowing 15 runs (12 earned) on 12 hits and eight walks in eight innings. He struck out five, tossed a wild pitch and hit a batter. Maybe Harrison can do a little better in his first game.
Harrison was born on August 10th, 1995, and was eventually drafted in the second round of the 2014 MLB Amateur Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. After signing for a $1,800,000 bonus, he reported to the rookie-level Arizona Brewers, in the Arizona Rookie League (not to be confused with the Arizona Fall League). Read his full scouting report here, at Baseball America (subscription required).
"Harrison might have the loudest tools in Miami’s system. He generates plus raw power to all fields thanks to a combination of physical strength and plus bat speed that enables him to turn around velocity. That power does come with some strikeout concerns, as Harrison’s swing will get too long at times and he’ll struggle to recognize spin, causing him to expand his zone. Harrison’s plus speed makes him a basestealing threat as well as an above-average defender, either in center field or in right, where his cannon for an arm is a clean fit. – the MLB Pipeline"
Players drafted as Harrison was, with the 50th overall selection, make it to the majors at a 45 percent clip, or 24-of-53. The group is led by Dennis Eckersley (1972, Cleveland Indians, 62.4 career WAR), Al Leiter (1984, New York Yankees, 40.1 WAR), Brian Roberts (1999, Baltimore Orioles, 30.4 WAR), and Adam Dunn (1998, Cincinnati Reds, 17.4 WAR).
In 50 games for the rookie-team, Harrison went 47-for-180, with seven doubles, two triples, and a homer for 20 RBI. He also stole 32 bases in 34 tries, with 31 walks and 48 strikeouts. That’s a lot of strikeouts, but his 21.4 percent whiff rate remains his best full-season mark to date.
2015 would see Harrison split his season between the rookie-level Pioneer League, with the Helena Brewers, and the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, in the single-A Midwest League. Limited by injury, the-then fourth ranked Milwaukee prospect slashed .205/.310/.332 between the two levels over 74 contests. He collected 19 extra base hits and knocked in 24, stealing 20-of-26 bases. He also struck out 100 times in 303 plate appearances, a 33 percent miss rate.
In 2016, Harrison was the MLB Pipeline’s number 15 Brewers prospect, and Milwaukee started him with the Timber Rattlers for another season. In an injury shortened 75 games, he slashed out a .221/.294/.337 line with six homers, 37 RBI, and eight stolen bases in 11 attempts. He was named the ML All-Star Game MVP. He also struck out 97 times, or 32.6 percent of the time. You can follow Harrison on Twitter @Team_Harrison3.
Harrison split the 2017 campaign between the Timber Rattlers and the high-A Carolina Mudcats, in the Carolina League. Blessed with a full, injury-free season, the number 23 Milwaukee prospect flourished to the tune of a .272/.350/.481 slashline over 122 games. He hit 21 homers and stole 27 bases in 31 tries. He also had 28 doubles and knocked in 67 in total, but still struck out 139 times for a slightly improved 27.1 percent strikeout rate.
The Brewers, perhaps emboldened by Harrison’s breakout campaign, sent him to the AZL for seasoning. In 13 games for the Salt River Rafters, he went 15-for-53 with five homers and 14 RBI, with five stolen bases. The Miami Marlins, who share the Rafters with four other teams, including the Brewers, were paying close attention.
On January 25th, the Miami Marlins traded away Christian Yelich for Harrison, as well as other well regarded prospects Lewis Brinson, Isan Diaz, and Jordan Yamamoto. Yelich, of course, was eventually named the National League 2018 Most Valuable Player in his first season up north. The quartet of players the Marlins got for him turned in a mixed bag of results. Harrison began the 2018 campaign ranked as the Fangraphs number 52 and the Pipeline number 71 overall prospect.
For Harrison’s part, he led the double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in the Southern League with 136 games played. He slashed .240/.316/.399 with 19 home runs and 48 RBI, also stealing 28 bases in 37 attempts. Harrison struck out 215 times, 39 more than the next closest player in the SL. He was fourth in the league with 208 total bases.
Harrison totaled 31 multihit games for the Shrimp through the season, including eight three-hit games. In a 10-9 Shrimp victory over the Pensacola Blue Wahoos on April 26th, Harrison hit a single, a double, and a homer for two RBI.
More from Marlins Prospects
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- Miami Marlins: How top 2022 MLB Draft picks performed this season
- What’s wrong with Kahlil Watson?
- Miami Marlins: Farm System rankings part 2
- Miami Marlins: Farm System rankings part 1
Clearly, Harrison’s biggest issue is the trouble he has laying off unhittable pitches. The Miami Marlins addressed this by sending him to another round with the Rafters. In 19 games, Harrison didn’t hit any home runs this time, but in 81 plate appearances, he only struck out 20 times. That’s a big improvement (over an admittedly small sample size). He also totaled 16 RBI to rank second on Salt River.
Defensively, Harrison has played 450 games in the outfield through his minor league career, including 353 games in center. He’s fielded .964 when playing a corner outfield position, with a mark of .985 while playing center.
The Miami Marlins expect Harrison to be nothing less than an everyday major league outfielder. Earlier this week, he was moved to the Marlins 40-man roster, and is a near-lock to make Miami’s Opening Day club out of 2019 Spring Training.
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