Prospect Profile: Clay Harris

Clay Harris simply loves to play baseball. In 2004, he started all 65 games for LSU, starting 48 games at third base and another 17 at first base. All of that's in the past though since he made a successful transition to second base for the 2005 season and has been anchoring the spot for the Batavia MuckDogs since being drafted in June.

Clay Harris grew up as a fan of the Tigers of LSU and knew where he wanted to be to play college baseball. Harris remembers watching Warren Morris homer to give LSU a championship in 1996 and was hooked. That memory of LSU baseball from when he was a 14 year old kid cemented his love for LSU. Both Clay and his younger brother Will wound up at LSU and the Tigers coach Smoke Laval is glad they did. "I love having both of them here," said Laval.

Harris made it through his LSU career without being drafted, but it's not because he didn't have solid stats. This past June, the Phillies grabbed him in the ninth round of the June Draft and the future for Harris may be at one of the corner positions, but for now, he's played a lot of second base at Batavia and is putting up impressive numbers in his first pro season.

2005 Batavia 1 24 .308 39 159 21 49 15 1 10 32 1 .358

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the ninth round of the 2005 Draft. Signed on June 20th and was assigned to Batavia.

Batting and Power: Harris has always shown some power, even back to his days in high school. He doesn't seem to possess tremendous power, but has enough to get by. Once he gets fully adjusted to wood bats, he may be able to hit 15-20 homeruns a season. He hit a career high .362 with a .440 OBP in his final season at LSU. Harris seems to be a well rounded offensive player with a decent eye at the plate. Harris likes the ball away. He's got long arms and likes to get extended. Once pitchers learn this, they'll of course, pitch him inside and Harris will have to adjust. How he handles that adjustment is likely to be the key to his success.

Baserunning and Speed: Forget it. Harris simply isn't a speed type player. He has enough quickness that he can grab an occasional base and he's smart enough to avoid getting himself into trouble on the basepaths, but don't look for many stolen bases. He stole just four bases in his entire college career and was also thrown out two times.

Defense: The original plan was for Harris to play at one of the corner infield spots, but with Mike Costanzo at third and Carl Galloway at first, that's not going to happen much at Batavia. Instead, Harris is playing at second base where he played in his final season with LSU. He's a capable second baseman with decent range and a strong enough arm. His reactions might be a little slow for third.

Projection: Harris has a good amount of tools. It's a matter of making adjustments and putting everything together. He may move a little slowly at first, but figures to catch on before long. With his strong start at Batavia, it's likely that he can hope for a promotion to Lakewood next season and that's where the test will really begin for Harris and the Phillies. For now though, he's right about where the Phillies thought that he would be. His ability to play a couple different positions will only enhance his value down the road.

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