Top Prospect #15: Brad Harman

The Phillies have invested a lot of time, energy and money into scouting in Australia. It's paying dividends and perhaps the best of the position players that they've found is Brad Harman, who should move along to Clearwater in 2006.

Technically, Brad Harman has already played at Clearwater. In 2004, he started the year in extended spring training and was sent to Clearwater for one game and drew a walk as a pinch-hitter. He was then brought back to camp to wait until the short-season Gulf Coast League started and he played there for the rest of the season. Last season, he put up strong numbers at Lakewood and figures to start the 2006 season a level higher at Clearwater.

The Phillies love Harman's offense, but his defense has been lagging behind. He's played at shortstop third base and second base in the minors and hasn't excelled at either and made a total of 32 errors last season. It's something that the Phillies will have to look to improve on for Harman to become a better all around player.

'04 Clearwater 0 0 .000 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.000
'04 GCL 2 19 .230 51 183 23 42 10 0 2 11 41 .281
'05 Lakewood 11 58 .303 105 419 63 127 23 1 5 45 89 .380
Career 13 77 .281 157 602 87 169 33 1 7 56 130 .352

Acquired: Signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in November, 2003.

Batting and Power: 2005 was a breakout season for Brad Harman. He showed some of the power potential that the Phillies thought they would see from him and hit over .300 at Lakewood, with an on-base percentage of .380 for the BlueClaws. Those are the kind of numbers that the Phillies were figuring on from Harman when they signed him. Harman is working on improving his plate discipline and did show some improvement in 2005, drawing a walk once every 9.9 at bats rather than the once every 16.6 at bats that he drew a walk in during the 2004 season. If he continues to show some improvement in plate discipline - especially if he can cut down on his strikeouts slightly - the other numbers will all show an increase like they did in 2005. Ironically, Harman (a right-handed hitter) hit better against right-handers than against left-handers - .329 against righties and .213 against left-handers.

Baserunning and Speed: Harman isn't going to steal a lot of bases, but he's not going to clog up the basepaths either. He's slightly above average in speed, but doesn't run himself into a lot of bad outs.

Defense: This is the down part. Harman has played second, third and short in the system and hasn't shown solid defensive skills at either spot. To be honest, he's played just nine games at third and posted a fielding percentage of horrid proportions at .818 while in the Gulf Coast League. At second base, he has a career percentage of .940 and a career mark of just .934 in 120 games at shortstop. The Phillies figure to keep him primarily at short. He did play one game at first base in 2004, but there doesn't seem to be any plan for moving him there on a regular basis.

Projection: Harman should be a lock to move to Clearwater for the 2006 season. He showed all that the Phillies were asking of him offensively at Lakewood last year and defensively, they'll just hope that he can improve on what he's shown so far, but they're not likely to hold him back because of that. There is no reason to believe that Harman can't move at close to a level per season pace, putting him in the mix for major league consideration by the spring of 2009. He has the offensive talent to project him as an everyday major league player, but the Phillies - or wherever he would wind up - are going to have to swallow hard if his defense doesn't improve.

Comparison: There were a lot of similar concerns about Chase Utley's defense when he was coming through the ranks and he's shown a lot of improvement and also showed that he could continue to improve as he moved up the minor league levels. Harman could become a similar type player, but with less power. That's not to say that Harman won't hit a good amount of homeruns, but Utley will likely be considered more of a power hitter than Harman will when all is said and done. The other difference is that Harman is a right-handed hitter, but overall, they have some similarities.


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