Is the National League Ready for Monte Harrison and the Marlins?
Monte Harrison is the only player gained for Christian Yelich that has yet to make his major league debut.
Prior to 2018 Spring Training, the Miami Marlins traded Christian Yelich to the Milwaukee Brewers for Monte Harrison, Lewis Brinson, Isan Diaz, and Jordan Yamamoto. Yamamoto looks to be one of the five pitchers set to begin the 2020 season in the starting rotation. Diaz and Brinson each hit .173 last season, but are hoping to do better this year.
That leaves Harrison as the lone player to still be awaiting his MLB debut of the four. He was set to come up during the second half of the 2019 campaign, but a stint on the injured list put a stop to that.
When he wasn’t injured, Harrison hit .274/.357/.451 at the Triple-A level with the New Orleans Baby Cakes, in the Pacific Coast League. He hit nine homers with 24 RBI, and stole 20 bases in 22 attempts for a >90 percent success rate. After that season concluded, Harrison joined the Arizona Fall League, where he made strides in his swing. According to MLB Pipeline, where Harrison is currently ranked as the Marlins number five prospect:
"Harrison made some adjustments in the Arizona Fall League, reducing his leg kick and producing more regular contact. He continued to show improvements in 2019, though he fractured his right wrist making a diving catch in June and subsequent surgery was expected to sideline him for most or all of the rest of the season. If he stays healthy and keeps refining his swing, he could develop into a 30-30 player."
Harrison is a six-foot-three, 220 lb. right-handed outfielder from Lee’s Summit, MO. Now 24-years-old, he was taken in the second round of the 2014 MLB Amateur Entry Draft by the Brewers, with the 50th overall choice.
By 2017, Harrison had risen to the High-A level in the Brewers system. In 122 games that year between the Carolina Mudcats and the Single-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, he hit .272/.350/.481 with 21 home runs and 67 RBI, with 27 stolen bases in 31 tries.
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After the trade, the Miami Marlins sent Harrison to the Double-A level with the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in the Southern League. Harrison clubbed 19 homers and totaled 48 RBI that season, and again stole at a high success rate, with 28 in 37 attempts, but he also led the entire minor leagues with 215 strikeouts. In 136 games, he struck out 36.9 percent of the time, which would be the worst figure on the 2019 Marlins. Just FYI, that was Jorge Alfaro, at 33.1 percent.
Thus far in 2020 Spring Training, Harrison has gone four-for-12 with two walks and five strikeouts, and has stolen three bases in four tries. He’s currently in a many-way battle for a spot as the Marlins Opening Day center fielder, along with Jon Berti, Jonathan Villar, Lewis Brinson, Magneuris Sierra, and Harold Ramirez.
Any of those players could end up with the job, but of that group, Harrison may have the highest possible ceiling.