Phillies Prospect #59: Brett Harker

Brett Harker has had some early success as a closer, but he may be better suited to pitch in the starting rotation based on his repertoire.

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the 5th round of the 2005 Draft.

B: R  T: R  /  Height: 6' 3"  /  Weight: 185 lbs / Birth Date: July 9, 1984

2007 Team/League: Clearwater (Florida State League)

Games/Games Started in 2007: 32 g / 1 gs

School: College of Charleston

Repertoire: Harker has a good fastball, but he's relying on it too much. The Phillies gave him one start last season and could consider moving him into a starting rotation spot in the minors because he's got complimentary pitches that he can throw to get hitters out. His change-up is above average and he throws a curve that has good, late movement. He can keep his pitches down in the zone and can throw them all for strikes or stay just outside of the strike zone to get hitters out consistently, but last season, he struggled with his command and found himself getting into trouble.

Pitching Style: Mike Zagurski had taken the closer's role at Clearwater last season, but when he was promoted to Reading and later to the big league club, Harker stepped back into a closer's role for the Threshers. He saved 13 games and continued to show the mentality that a pitcher needs to work out of that spot. He seemed to get a little loose with his mechanics and pitch from behind a lot last season, which led to a higher walk ratio and a higher home run ratio than he had posted earlier in his career.

Projection: The Phillies should consider reinventing Harker and putting him in the rotation to see how he can succeed there. He likes to pitch and has the build to throw more than he does. If he moves to the rotation, he could likely be a back of the rotation pitcher in the majors or possibly blossom into a setup man if he stays in the bullpen. With continued development of his secondary pitches, the outlook for him as a starter could be even better and he could surprise a lot of people who have wanted to button hole him into pitching exclusively as a reliever. The 2008 season will likely be a big one for Harker as he tries to show that he deserves to stay on the prospect radar in a system pretty well filled with pitching.

Comparison: Right now, Harker is much like a Geoff Geary type pitcher, but has the potential to be better than that. He likes to pitch and can take the ball often and has the potential to develop into a better prospect.

What else you should know about Brett Harker: 

  • In 2004, combined with Zack Piccola, who is now in the Tigers organization, to throw the first no-hitter in the history of the College of Charleston.
  • Last season, he was ranked as the 39th best prospect in the Phillies organization by Philly Baseball News.

Brett Harker's career stats

'05 Batavia 1 2 5.06 0 9 7 37.1 38 23 21 5 12 15
'06 Lakewood 1 4 2.92 17 46 0 64.2 53 23 21 4 19 55
'07 Clearwater 2 2 6.69 13 32 1 39.0 46 29 29 5 15 24
TOTALS 2 8 4.52 30 87 8 141.0 137 75 71 14 46 94

Philly Baseball Insider Top Stories