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Harrison making an impact in Triple-A

Marlins encouraged by prospect's development; Berti brings speed to utility role
@JoeFrisaro
April 21, 2019

MIAMI -- Marlins outfield prospect Monte Harrison has always been able to hit for power. It’s simply a matter of cutting down his strikeouts and making more consistent contact that will determine when the 23-year-old will get his first big league callup. In a small sample size of 10 games,

MIAMI -- Marlins outfield prospect Monte Harrison has always been able to hit for power. It’s simply a matter of cutting down his strikeouts and making more consistent contact that will determine when the 23-year-old will get his first big league callup.

In a small sample size of 10 games, Harrison is already making steady progress at Triple-A New Orleans. He belted his second home run of the season on Saturday night. For the season, Harrison is slashing .308/.386/.590 with an OPS of .976.

Ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami’s No. 3 prospect, Harrison is showing the promise that has the Marlins confident he will be a long-term right field option.

“The power has always been there,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “But you don’t get to it unless you put it in play.”

Harrison has a 29.5 percent strikeout rate and an 11.4 walk rate.

Compared to 2018, when he struck out 215 times at Double-A Jacksonville, progress is being made. Harrison’s strikeout rate was 36.9 percent and he walked 7.5 percent of the time a year ago.

“Monte is a guy who obviously is making strides,” Mattingly said. “He’s really getting a chance to develop now at the next level.”

Harrison’s hard-contact rate is high. According to Marlins’ internal data, the outfielder entered Sunday with 44% of his balls in play tracked at more than 105 mph or higher. The MLB average is 8%.

Harrison also is healthy. He missed the first few games due to a sore right wrist. But it didn’t land him on the injured list.

“I know he had a little hiccup late in spring with the wrist,” Mattingly said. “It took him a while to get back going. The stuff I read, it looks like he’s swinging the bat well and having quality at-bats.”

Already on the 40-man roster, Harrison could be a callup candidate at some point this season. The Marlins are looking for consistent outfield play, but they are being cautious not to rush development.

“Allowing him to develop is the key, long term,” Mattingly said. “With not just him, but all the guys. It’s not trying to bring him [up] too early because you have a need, instead of letting the guy develop, so he’s ready to compete when he gets here, so he doesn’t get beat up and go back.”

Umpires conduct charity auction

MLB umpires are offering more than 400 items in an auction aimed at benefiting youth programs.

A specific Miami item up for bidding is a Marlins Batting Practice Experience and game tickets for four, plus gift bags and stadium tour.

All proceeds from the online auction support UMPS CARE Charities youth programs, which connect children and families in the communities in which the umpires work all season through the game they love. UMPS CARE provides once-in-a-lifetime Major League Baseball experiences for critically ill kids, at-risk youth and military families, Build-A-Bear Workshop® experiences for children battling serious illnesses at more than 15 pediatric hospitals in the United States and Canada, college scholarships for deserving young adults who were adopted as children, and financial assistance for families in the baseball community in need. UMPS CARE Charities is the official charity of Major League Baseball umpires.

The 11th Annual UMPS CARE online auction began Friday at mlb.com/umpscare and will run through Monday, April 29 at 10 p.m. ET.

Worth noting

Connor Scott, the Marlins’ No. 1 Draft pick in 2018, has been out of the lineup at Class A Clinton a few games due to groin tightness. The left-handed hitting outfielder is ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami’s No. 5 prospect. He’s expected back in a few games.

Jon Berti fits the utility role the Marlins are valuing. The 29-year-old infielder/outfielder had his contract selected on Saturday, and he made an impact on the bases in Saturday’s 9-3 win. As a pinch-hitter, he walked in the eighth inning and used his speed to not be forced out at second on Martin Prado’s fielder’s choice grounder. He took third on a pitch in the dirt, then scored.

In Spring Training, according to the Marlins internal speed/quickness metrics, Berti regularly graded out as the top in the organization. Defensively, he takes precise routes, and is a plus base-runner.

“He brings speed,” Mattingly said. “He gives you a quality at-bat. He gives you the versatility of the whole field. In our minds, all that stuff, plus he’s a baseball player. He has a really good feel for the game of his game, how he uses his speed and who he is as a player. And he’s been around a little bit. This is a guy who has had to work his way through the Minor Leagues.”

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.