Who doesn’t love guys with 30-30 potential? Those players are extremely rare and may be the most fun to watch. But what if I tell you that we could soon have one of them emerge from within the Marlins organization? Yes! That man is Monte Harrison.
If Harrison’s potential is fully realized, there is little doubt that he can be a star player. The main question is about his developmental timeline: Is he done in the minors and ready to help the big league team as soon as the 2020 season begins?
Harrison—the only player involved in the Christian Yelich trade who has yet to play in MLB—has a complete skill set even though he falls just outside MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects list. Monte can run, can hit for power, can throw guys out from the outfield, and at the age of 24, he might be closer than you think.
The most interesting part of Monte’s cause is the tangible progress he showed in 2019. For years, the major concern about his game has been his ability to make consistent contact. Harrison went from leading the Double-A Southern League in strikeouts (215 across 136 games) in 2018 to register 74 in 58 games last season at Triple-A. Or in other words, he lowered his strikeout percentage from 36.9% to 29.5%. Unfortunately, a broken wrist made him lose several months of potential playing time.
When Harrison limits his whiffs, he makes a huge offensive impact. In his last 316 minors games, the Missouri native has hit 111 extra-base hits and 49 home runs, combined with 78 stolen bases on 93 attempts (!!!), good for an 83.9% success rate.
Harrison dazzled during spring training action before being optioned to Triple-A Wichita. He compiled eight hits across 22 at-bats, along with three doubles, four ribbies, and eight runs. Even during such a small sample, he put his running ability on display with six stolen bases on seven attempts.
The Marlins could use that production out of Harrison’s bat, but right now they don’t have a clear need to rush him. Corey Dickerson’s in left; Jonathan Villar will get a chance in center for the everyday role, capable of shifting to the infield if Lewis Brinson earns a spot in the lineup; and Brian Anderson should split time between right and third base. Garrett Cooper, Harold Ramírez and Matt Joyce could also see action in the outfield.
This should help Monte in two different ways. First, he will get more seasoning in Triple-A and prove himself one more time over there. Second, he will have the freedom of a low-stakes environment to continue experimenting with his hitting mechanics, potentially reducing his strikeouts even more.
Even though the promising outfielder figures to be unlikely to crack the Marlins Opening Day roster, he doesn’t seem far from tasting the big leagues. You can expect to see him up there at some point in 2020. With so much power, speed and defense, Harrison could be an exciting story for this team. Keep an eye on him!