Impactful Harrison making strides in AFL

Miami's No. 2 prospect putting ball in play more consistently

November 12th, 2018

MIAMI -- For , his raw power, speed and athleticism have always been obvious. The major question about the Marlins outfield prospect is whether he can make enough contact to be truly impactful.
Harrison has provided some answers playing for the Salt River Rafters in the Arizona Fall League. He has been putting the ball in play with more consistency, and the results have been impressive.
The 23-year-old is batting .308 with a .403 on-base percentage, two doubles, one triple and 16 RBIs in 17 games. In 65 at-bats, he has struck out 16 times and drawn 10 walks.

A power threat, Harrison likely will always deal with swings and misses in his game. It's a matter of how much he can reduce his strikeouts that will tell when he is big league-ready.
Harrison is expected to be added to the Marlins' 40-man roster this offseason, and he will be in Spring Training camp with the Major League club. While making the Opening Day roster may be a long shot, he projects to start off at Triple-A New Orleans. If Harrison performs there, a big league callup is realistic around midseason.
What's encouraging is Harrison is showing positive signs this fall playing in Arizona. One reason is he has adjusted his swing from his 2018 season at Double-A Jacksonville, where he fanned 215 times in 521 at-bats.
Before heading to Arizona, Harrison refined his mechanics while working out at the Marlins' Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.
Most noticeable is Harrison scrapped the high front leg kick he used during the Double-A season. He has been using more of a front foot pivot as a timing mechanism.
Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill noted that all of the Minor League players were given a personalized plan with objectives to work on in the offseason.

For Harrison, it was pretty straight forward: Put the ball in play more. The data shows that when he does, he can be a force. According to the Marlins' internal metrics, 20 percent of the balls Harrison put in play had an exit velocity of 105 mph or higher. For context, the MLB average is seven percent.
"We have player plans where we look at their areas of improvement and what they need to do to continue to get better and make it to the big leagues," Hill said. "It was no secret that we're trying to cut down on the strikeouts for Monte and get his swing a little more under control so that he could have more contact, and make more impact, and do more damage."
Salt River is the only park in the Arizona Fall League that has Statcast™ readings. In Harrison's home games, 55.6 percent of the balls he has put in play (10 of 18) had an exit velocity of greater than 100 mph. He's 7-for-10 on those struck balls, including a high of 114.6 mph.
Ranked by MLB Pipeline as Miami's No. 2 prospect, Harrison went through a transition year in 2018.
A potential five-tool talent, Harrison was acquired by the Marlins from the Brewers as part of the trade.
A three-sport standout at Lee's Summit West High School in Missouri, Harrison turned down an opportunity to play football at the University of Nebraska to begin his professional baseball career.
Harrison dealt with injuries in 2015-16 before combining to bat .272/.350/.481 with 21 home runs and 67 RBIs at two levels of Class A ball in '17.
The Marlins kept Harrison at Double-A Jacksonville for the entire 2018 season, where he was refining his swing but using a high front leg kick. Hitting was a work in progress, with Harrison finishing .240/.316/.399 with 19 home runs, 48 RBIs and 28 stolen bases.

An underlying issue all season were the 215 strikeouts and just 44 walks in 136 games and 583 plate appearances.
Harrison's strikeout percentage was 36.9, and his walk percentage was 7.5.
"As he finished his Double-A season and reported to Jupiter prior to reporting to Arizona, it was something that we discussed with him," Hill said. "Eliminating the higher leg kick kept him a little more under control and kept his swing a little more under control.
"He's a young player that we still believe has tremendous upside, and we're excited to see him continue his improvement and for him to get better."