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Harrison......

Posted: 06/22/2014 5:46 AM

Harrison...... 


Although Cutch is still, far and away, the best player on the team, has there been anymore valuable than Josh Harrison this year? Where would the Pirates be without him? RF, LF, 3B, 2B, and even occasionally SS. Hitting .300, and with a good deal of pop. And has anyone had more "big hits" than Harrison this year?

As I've said before, he has his flaws and limitations, but Harrison has always produced and overachieved - at every level he's ever played at. The kid is a winner.
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Posted: 06/22/2014 9:31 AM

Re: Harrison...... 


Plus the kid is fun to watch. Everyone is waiting for him to "cool" off. I'm just going to enjoy it while it last
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Posted: 06/22/2014 2:45 PM

Re: Harrison...... 


The guy has developed into a very serviceable utility player and gets the most of his ability. Good for him. Pittsburghers love a guy like JaHay.
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Posted: 06/22/2014 3:47 PM

Re: Harrison...... 


I would like him to become full time 3rd baseman.
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Posted: 06/22/2014 4:59 PM

Re: Harrison...... 



GatorBrian wrote: I would like him to become full time 3rd baseman.
Sure, Pedro's sucked lately, but the guy led the league in HRs and the team in RBIs with 100 last year. Plus, he hit, I think, 5 HRs in the 6 playoff games. Do you really think Harrison could come close to those numbers? Alvarez needs to start pulling and driving the ball again, instead of this opposite field stuff.
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Posted: 06/23/2014 8:29 AM

Re: Harrison...... 



BBG65 wrote:
GatorBrian wrote: I would like him to become full time 3rd baseman.
Sure, Pedro's sucked lately, but the guy led the league in HRs and the team in RBIs with 100 last year. Plus, he hit, I think, 5 HRs in the 6 playoff games. Do you really think Harrison could come close to those numbers? Alvarez needs to start pulling and driving the ball again, instead of this opposite field stuff.
There are plenty of hitter's who are extremely productive that don't hit a lot of homeruns.  RBI's aren't the only way to generate runs.  Scoring them is just as effective.  If you have Polanco, Harrison, and McCutchen batting 1-2-3, I think there's an excellent chance that Harrison could be responsible for as many runs as Alvarez last years (134).  This is assuming that Harrison can continue to about .300 and have an OBP of about .340.  Now can he?  I don't know, but I'm willing to give him a try.

To note, Robinson Cano is on pace to knock in over 90 runs while hitting only 9 HR's.  Now, that's assuming he'll continue to bat .323 all season.  Will Harrison do that?  No, I don't think any of us believe he would or even could, but Cano's is batting 3rd with bad hitters in front of him.  If Harrison were to bat 4th, he legitimately could have a .300+ hitting in Polanco, a .280 hitter in Walker or Marte (potential), and a .300+ hitter in McCutchen in front of him.  If Harrison could continue to hit over .290 with those 3 (of the 4), in front of him, I have every reason to believe he could knock in well over 100 runs in a full season.

Last year Alvarez had 100 RBI's and scored 70 runs.  If the Pirates had a lineup of (for example)...
Polanco [RF] - (.300)
Walker [2B] - (.280)
McCutchen [CF] - (.310)
Harrison [3B] - (.290)
Marte [LF] - .280
Davis / Sanchez [1B] - .260
Martin [C] - .260
Barmes / Mercer [SS]

I absolutely think Harrison could score 70 runs and knock in 100 RBI's.  The thing is, Harrison could score 60 and knock in 90 and still be more productive... specifically because of HR's.  Alvarez's runs created was 134 (because he hit 36 HR's).  If Harrison knocked in 90, scored 60, and homered 10 times, Harrison would create 140 runs.  Everything of course though is based on the ability of Harrison to be able to be a .290+ hitter.  Can he?  I don't know.  But at this point, I know what Pedro can and can't do... I don't know that about Harrison.
#fringeprospect

Last edited 06/23/2014 8:39 AM by TBayXXXVII

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Posted: 06/23/2014 8:41 AM

Re: Harrison...... 



WWJDLion wrote: Although Cutch is still, far and away, the best player on the team, has there been anymore valuable than Josh Harrison this year? Where would the Pirates be without him? RF, LF, 3B, 2B, and even occasionally SS. Hitting .300, and with a good deal of pop. And has anyone had more "big hits" than Harrison this year?

As I've said before, he has his flaws and limitations, but Harrison has always produced and overachieved - at every level he's ever played at. The kid is a winner.
My guess is the Pirates would be in 4th place in the division (where they are now) with probably two-three more losses.
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Posted: 06/23/2014 8:55 AM

Re: Harrison...... 



TBayXXXVII wrote:
BBG65 wrote:
GatorBrian wrote: I would like him to become full time 3rd baseman.
Sure, Pedro's sucked lately, but the guy led the league in HRs and the team in RBIs with 100 last year. Plus, he hit, I think, 5 HRs in the 6 playoff games. Do you really think Harrison could come close to those numbers? Alvarez needs to start pulling and driving the ball again, instead of this opposite field stuff.
There are plenty of hitter's who are extremely productive that don't hit a lot of homeruns.  RBI's aren't the only way to generate runs.  Scoring them is just as effective.  If you have Polanco, Harrison, and McCutchen batting 1-2-3, I think there's an excellent chance that Harrison could be responsible for as many runs as Alvarez last years (134).  This is assuming that Harrison can continue to about .300 and have an OBP of about .340.  Now can he?  I don't know, but I'm willing to give him a try.

To note, Robinson Cano is on pace to knock in over 90 runs while hitting only 9 HR's.  Now, that's assuming he'll continue to bat .323 all season.  Will Harrison do that?  No, I don't think any of us believe he would or even could, but Cano's is batting 3rd with bad hitters in front of him.  If Harrison were to bat 4th, he legitimately could have a .300+ hitting in Polanco, a .280 hitter in Walker or Marte (potential), and a .300+ hitter in McCutchen in front of him.  If Harrison could continue to hit over .290 with those 3 (of the 4), in front of him, I have every reason to believe he could knock in well over 100 runs in a full season.

Last year Alvarez had 100 RBI's and scored 70 runs.  If the Pirates had a lineup of (for example)...
Polanco [RF] - (.300)
Walker [2B] - (.280)
McCutchen [CF] - (.310)
Harrison [3B] - (.290)
Marte [LF] - .280
Davis / Sanchez [1B] - .260
Martin [C] - .260
Barmes / Mercer [SS]

I absolutely think Harrison could score 70 runs and knock in 100 RBI's.  The thing is, Harrison could score 60 and knock in 90 and still be more productive... specifically because of HR's.  Alvarez's runs created was 134 (because he hit 36 HR's).  If Harrison knocked in 90, scored 60, and homered 10 times, Harrison would create 140 runs.  Everything of course though is based on the ability of Harrison to be able to be a .290+ hitter.  Can he?  I don't know.  But at this point, I know what Pedro can and can't do... I don't know that about Harrison.


In terms of his career playing time, Harrison is just now going past the rough equivalent of one full major league season.  In 712 career at bats---not quite a season and a quarter for most players---he has a .264 career batting average with 12 home runs, 68 RBI, and 18 steals.  That's not bad in terms of "counting stats" for a middle infielder, though his career OPS is only .693---average or perhaps a tick below for a middle infielder---mostly because he doesn't walk much.


Still, and even when we keep in mind that his career numbers are skewed upward by his great first half in 2014, he has done enough to make me curious to see if he can possibly keep it up.  While I don't (yet) believe he's legitimately this good, I'm beginning to believe that he is better than he looked over the first three partial seasons he had for us prior to 2014.  It may be that he's just now comfortable and experienced enough at the big league level for him to hit his maximum potential. 


Anyway, at minimum we have a guy who is a valuable substitute at several positions---even if he can only legitimately play defense at second and third---and a good player to have coming off the bench.  If he keeps it up---and that's a big "if" at this point, but---I can see a scenario in which Pedro is traded, Walker moves to third, and Harrison becomes the starter at second as we wait to see if Alen Hanson can handle shortstop or if he is also ultimately a second baseman.

Last edited 06/23/2014 8:55 AM by williamjpellas

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Posted: 06/23/2014 9:01 AM

Re: Harrison...... 


TB is 100% correct to point out that there are plenty of players, and always have been, who generate plenty of offense quite apart from hitting home runs.  Many years ago I read an interesting article in Baseball Digest that listed the hitters who, to that point in time (late 1980s), had put up seasons of 100 or more RBI with 10 or fewer home runs.  Without cheating and Googling to get that list again, I do remember that Willie Montanez (briefly a Pirate near the end of his career) and Tom Herr were two of those players. 


Anyway, players like that are not popular in the SABR / Moneyball / Swing From The Heels And Who Cares How Many Times You Strike Out era, but for my money they are extremely valuable and I suspect the pendulum will swing back in their favor now that steroids are (supposedly) leaving the game and runs are once more at a premium.  James Loney is one current player who is cut from this sort of cloth.  Not a lot of home runs but puts the ball in play frequently, is hard to strike out, and drives in a lot of runs considering his below-average-for-his-position home run power.


Historically, Johnny Pesky is probably the uber-archetype for this approach to hitting.  Despite a grand total of just 17 (seventeen) home runs in more than 4,700 career at bats, he still managed a career OPS of .790.  His .307 career batting average had a lot to do with that, and so did the fact that he only struck out 218 times.  Total.  Ever.  He also drew 662 walks.  Tony Gwynn, of course, was along the same lines, just a lot better, but he was SO good at pure hitting that I put him in another category altogether.

Last edited 06/23/2014 9:38 AM by williamjpellas

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Posted: 06/23/2014 9:05 AM

Re: Harrison...... 



williamjpellas wrote: TB is 100% correct to point out that there are plenty of players, and always have been, who generate plenty of offense quite apart from hitting home runs.  Many years ago I read an interesting article in Baseball Digest that listed the hitters who, to that point in time (late 1980s), had put up seasons of 100 or more RBI with 10 or fewer home runs.  Without cheating and Googling to get that list again, I do remember that Willie Montanez (briefly a Pirate near the end of his career) and Tom Herr were two of those players. 


Anyway, players like that are not popular in the SABR / Moneyball / Swing From The Heels And Who Cares How Many Times You Strike Out era, but for my money they are extremely valuable and I suspect the pendulum will swing back in their favor now that steroids are (supposedly) leaving the game and runs are once more at a premium.  James Loney is one current player who is cut from this sort of cloth.  Not a lot of home runs but puts the ball in play frequently, is hard to strike out, and drives in a lot of runs considering his below-average-for-his-position home run power.


Brandon Phillips drove in 103 last year with 18 HR and a .706 OPS.

___________

 

  

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Posted: 06/23/2014 9:11 AM

Re: Harrison...... 


Phillips is along the same lines, though not one of my personal favorite players by any stretch.  But yes, a guy cut from similar cloth.
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Posted: 06/23/2014 9:22 AM

Re: Harrison...... 



williamjpellas wrote: Phillips is along the same lines, though not one of my personal favorite players by any stretch.  But yes, a guy cut from similar cloth.


Phillips is the kind of player you hate, unless he's on your team.

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Posted: 06/23/2014 10:57 AM

Re: Harrison...... 


I loved the way Willie Montanez would stroll to the batters box when he was a Pirate.

As a full time player, Harrison is a 70 RBI guy at best.  Bill Madlock's RBI totals for the Pirates were:

1979: 85 (counting time with Giants)
1980: 53
1981: 45 (strike shortened season)
1982: 95
1983: 68
1984: 44
1984: 56 (includes time with Dodgers)

I'm pretty sure that Harrison will not be compared to Bill Madlock again anytime soon.

Montanez as a Pirate:

Last edited 06/23/2014 11:00 AM by Sangue

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Posted: 06/23/2014 12:47 PM

Re: Harrison...... 


Uhhh.....I for one would never, ever compare Harrison with Madlock.  That's beyond ludicrous.  Loved the Montanez photo, thanks for the memories!  pirate
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Posted: 06/26/2014 2:13 PM

Re: Harrison...... 


I am a big fan of the guy. He reminds me of a lite version of Tony Phillips.
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Posted: 06/26/2014 2:17 PM

Re: Harrison...... 



williamjpellas wrote: Uhhh.....I for one would never, ever compare Harrison with Madlock.  That's beyond ludicrous.  Loved the Montanez photo, thanks for the memories!  pirate


Harrison right now is doing a great impersonation of Matlock.  They even look a little alike.

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Posted: 06/26/2014 4:39 PM

Re: Harrison...... 


I'm starting to believe he was just a late bloomer. May still be early, but he seems to be more than we thought. I'm still not sold, but kid is ballin right now. Maybe if Harrison takes over 3B, he won't give it back. I always assumed he eventually would.

Last edited 06/26/2014 4:40 PM by BAMSTEELERFAN

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Posted: 06/27/2014 7:23 PM

Re: Harrison...... 


Rundown!!!

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Posted: 06/27/2014 7:54 PM

Re: Harrison...... 


And the walkoff!

What a season he's having.

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Posted: 06/27/2014 8:14 PM

Re: Harrison...... 


He does it again....last night, throws guy out at home from LF, while tonight, he drives in winning run.
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