Brad Harman is in a new world moving up to Double-A this season, but he already feels comfortable. After all, Harman has gotten used to adjusting to new things and new places; position changes, playing in international baseball and of course, moving through the Phillies organization. Harman came into spring training just looking to get himself comfortable and ready for the season, which was a marked contrast over his previous approach of coming in and looking for immediate results and posting numbers that would get him noticed. His new approach seems to have worked and he's glad that he took the approach that he did. "I wasn't stressing too much. I think this was the first spring training that I've kind of matured in a sense," said Harman, who started the spring in Major League camp before coming over to the minor league side. The experience was the first of its kind for Harman and he looks forward to spending longer stays with big league players in the future. "There's just so much you can learn from those guys. Even just watching them and how they approach the game is a big help and I took a lot away from the experience. So, hopefully next time I can stay a little longer," laughed the 22 year old infielder, who starts his second full season as a second baseman after coming up as a shortstop and then spending some time at third during the Instructional League last fall.
One thing he doesn't have to get used to is his middle infield mate, Jason Donald. "We know the kind of play that each other is going to make," said Harman of the shortstop that he spent time with at Clearwater last season. Donald and Harman make up the middle infield at Reading and should give them a solid tandem. Having a familiar face next to him helps, considering that Harman has moved around the infield and just where he'll play down the road is still a question mark since the Phillies have all-star caliber infielders at the Major League level and a bunch of good infielders coming up through the system. For his part, Harman doesn't worry too much about where he's playing or the differences between positions since he has a simple philosophy to defense. "I feel comfortable wherever I'm playing," said Harman. "Basically, if you catch the ball and throw it to first, you're going to get it done, so I have no problem where I'm playing." For now, second base seems to be where Harman will call home, but his experience last fall playing third base actually went pretty well and he's definitely one of the candidates to move out of position should the Phillies decide to switch around a couple of infielders.
Some players have difficulty adjusting to Double-A ball. It's seen as the level where the true prospects really emerge and solidify their standing in the organization, while others start to falter and fall by the wayside. "Pitchers just get smarter as you get up the ranks," admitted Harman, who again, feels comfortable with the type of pitchers that he'll face this season thanks to playing International Baseball. This past off-season, Harman was literally all over the world playing baseball, but he believes the time was well spent since it gave him a taste of different styles of pitching and got his feet wet to face more mature pitchers like those that he'll face in Double-A. "Playing against teams like Japan, playing in the Classic, I've got a little bit of experience at facing older pitchers who are going to throw that sort of stuff [a curve or change-up] at any point in the count. I've faced Japanese pitchers who will throw a curve ball for a strike 3-and-0. It's just made me a better hitter and a more mature hitter," said Harman. Through the first five games, Harman is hitting .263 on the season as he continues to find out exactly what Double-A ball is all about. Over the off-season, Harman put so much time in playing baseball, that he was able to spend very little time in his native Australia, visiting with family. "I went to Instructional League and then I was home for five days and then I went straight off to Taiwan in November for the World Cup and then after that, we went to Japan for a week. So, I basically had December and January before I came over here [to the United States]," remembered Harman. "I had two and a-half months, so it was my shortest off-season at home, but I enjoyed it."
Audio Extra: Hear the full interview with Brad Harman and get his thoughts on his off-season and how he's approaching Double-A ball: