For Brad Harman, 2006 was a step back. His average fell over 60 points and his power numbers came nowhere near the 11 homeruns that he hit in 2005. It's likely that the real Brad Harman will be somewhere between what the Phillies saw in 2005 and what they saw in 2006. That would still make Harman worth watching with the potential to help at least as a utility infielder.
Brad Harman's career stats
|'04 Gulf Coast||2||19||.230||51||183||23||42||10||0||11||41||.281|
Acquired: Signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in November, 2003.
Batting and Power: One of the keys for Harman in 2005 was his improvement in plate discipline. The thought was that would continue as he continued to develop, but it was slightly worse in 2006 with Harman going over the century mark in strikeouts while producing just three more walks in four extra at bats. In addition to the strikeouts, Harman made a habit of swinging at bad pitches and getting himself out. It's very possibly a case of a young player simply trying to do too much when he has the talent to simply go out and play. It's likely that his career totals averaged out through his first three minor league seasons are about where he'll project as a major leaguer [5 HR, 34 RBI, .264 AVG, .339 OBP].
Baserunning and Speed: Harman has slightly above average speed and uses it in a smart fashion. His stolen base percentage took a big jump last season, going from 31% (5 SB, 11 CS) to 75% (6 SB, 2 CS), although he attempted half the stolen bases that he did in 2005. He'll be much better off if he continues to pick his spots and not run himself into outs.
Defense: It doesn't seem that Harman will need to clear any room on a trophy shelf for a Gold Glove. He's played primarily at shortstop and hasn't shown great range or the ability to consistently make plays. He's also played at second and a little at third and doesn't appear destined for either of those spots. To his credit, he continues to work on his defense and is showing some improvement, which would be a huge asset.
Projection: Don't think for a moment that Harman is a lost cause. He definitely took a step back last season, but has the potential to turn things around. Keep in mind that he's young - he turned 21 last November - and it's not unusual for young players to hit a bit of a snag as they move up the ladder. The Phillies would be wise to start him back at Clearwater in 2007 to let him gain a little confidence and then move him along to Double-A Reading when he's shown some success with the Threshers. There is no need to rush him and the extra time would be a wise investment.
Comparison: Last year, we hoped that Harman would show the kind of defensive improvement that Chase Utley showed as a young minor leaguer, but that hasn't happened. Harman won't put up the kind of offensive numbers that Utley has shown, but both are hard-nosed players and both work very hard at improving their game. Harman's numbers will likely be more like a Kevin Stocker type of player, but Stocker had a decent career in the majors and that wouldn't be all bad.