"I really believe that Brad Harman is one of the guys who will leave Lakewood with a much higher value than he came in with." That's not a bad way for your new manager to look at you when you're attempting to climb the minor league ladder. It was P.J. Forbes, manager of the Lakewood BlueClaws where Harman will likely be assigned, who offered that assessment of Harman. "He's very strong defensively and has a good approach at the plate," beamed Forbes.
The Phillies weren't worried as much about Harman's numbers last season as they were simply getting him acclimated to life in the states. In his first pro season, Harman was in the Gulf Coast League and moved to Batavia where he played in just one game late in the year. He hit just .230, but there is a lot of promise in Harman. "He's coming around offensively," said Forbes, who has been watching Harman this spring as one of his likely players that he'll depend on in 2005. "He'll play at short and probably some at second. He has the ability to play third, too," explained Forbes.
Until now, Harman hasn't gotten a lot of attention other than being part of the large group of players that the Phillies have found in Australia. Pitcher Scott Mitchinson has received the lion's share of the spotlight after his strong performance in the Gulf Coast League last summer. Harman figures to eat into Mitchinson's share of the attention this season if all goes as the Phillies and many other baseball people tend to think that it will.
|Year / Team||HR||RBI||AVG||G||AB||R||H||2B||3B||SB||CS||BB||KO||OBP|
|2004 Gulf Coast||2||19||.230||51||183||23||42||10||0||2||1||11||41||.281|
Acquired: Signed with the Phillies as an amateur free agent.
Batting and Power: "He has the potential to develop some pretty good power numbers," said P.J. Forbes of Harman's potential. Harman is primarily a line drive hitter with a good approach to hitting. He struck out once every 4.5 at bats in the GCL last summer and he has shown pretty decent patience and discipline at the plate. His .230 average wasn't overly impressive, but again, the Phillies just wanted him to get his feet wet and weren't as worried about the numbers as they were simply getting Harman pointed on his way up the ladder.
Baserunning and Speed: Harman runs pretty well, although he's not going to be a prolific base stealer. He does have good baserunning instincts. He won't get himself into trouble by taking unnecessary risks on the bases and has enough speed that he has to be watched at least a little.
Defense: Forbes believes that Harman's defense is going to be a big part of what will help him to move through the system. He has an average arm that is fairly accurate. He can play either middle infield spot and could switch to third base if the need arose. Forbes anticipates playing him mainly at shortstop this season in Lakewood.
Projection: The Phillies will likely send Harman to Lakewood and not make him wait for the season at Batavia. He showed enough poise that the Phillies believe he can handle the rigors of a full-season league. "Harman is impressive. His overall ingredients are all solid," said Mike Arbuckle, Phillies assistant GM for scouting and development. There is enough potential that Harman could become a legitimate major league prospect. The 2005 season should tell us a lot more about how he projects as a major leaguer.
Comparison: Since he's so young, it's hard to get a feel for just how Harman will play as a major leaguer. One scout that we talked to believes that Harman could be a Placido Polanco type player, possibly with a little more power.