Phillies Prospect #31: Brad Harman

As he did in his first season in High-A ball, Brad Harman struggled in his inaugural Double-A season. With a likely trip back to Reading in store for 2009, the 23 year old infielder looks to rebound.

Acquired: Signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent in 2003.
Bats: R   Throws: R
Height: 6' 1"   Weight: 195 lbs.
Birth Date: November 19, 1985
2008 Team(s): Reading (117 G), Phillies (6 G)
Positions/Games: 2B (79 G), SS (38 G), 3B (4 G)
2008 Ranking: 17

Why Harman fell to 31: Simply put, Brad Harman needed to show more consistency in 2008 and he didn't. While the step to Double-A is the toughest to make in the minors, Harman's performance wasn't what the Phillies were looking for and it's likely that he'll need to return to Reading for the 2009 season and look to build something to show that he is ready for a jump to Triple-A. His time in the majors was to fill a roster spot early in the year for Jimmy Rollins when the Phillies starting shortstop was on the DL and unfortunately, it didn't jump start Harman's season.

Category Brad Harman Eastern League Averages
AB/2B 27.7 18.9
AB/3B 443.0 150.0
AB/HR 26.1 41.4
AB/RBI 7.9 7.7
AB/R 9.0 7.2
AB/BB 10.3 9.5
AB/KO 3.2 4.9
AVG .210 .264
OBP .280 .338
SLG .366 .403
Categories with numbers in white show areas where Harman outperformed the average player in the Eastern League during the 2008 season. Categories with numbers in black show areas where he was below the league average.

Batting and Power: One of the things that could have hurt Harman offensively is the appearance that he was trying to develop himself into more of a home run hitter than he really is. He hit a career-high 17 home runs, but he also struck out a career-high 138 times and hit a career-low .210 to hurt his overall numbers. Harman's plate discipline has been declining for the past three seasons now, taking him from being a young player with a decent eye for a strike to a guy who is striking out too frequently. In his first two seasons, Harman struck out an average of once every 4.7 at bats and over the past three, he's struck out an average of once every 3.8 at bats. It may not seem like a huge difference, but when you consider that he was all the way down to once every 3.2 at bats in 2008, the slide is something to be concerned about. He's hit a total of 30 home runs over the past two seasons, but that's still not good enough power to warrant the higher strikeout totals.

Baserunning and Speed: Both offensively and defensively, Harman has been hurt by the fact that he doesn't have a quick first couple of steps. Once he gets himself underway, he's got average speed, but overall, he's not fast enough for speed to be a solid part of his game. His career 50% stolen base percentage is weak, but he's only attempting a few steals per season.

Defense: If there is an area of his game to be proud of, defense would be that area. While he's not a gold glove caliber fielder, Harman has worked hard to improve his defense and it certainly shows. Even though he is hampered by that slow first step, Harman has good enough instincts to continue to improve his range, especially at second base. He may ultimately not have enough range to stick at shortstop long-term, but could play there if needed to fill a hole temporarily. It's fair enough to say that while second base is his home, Harman can be assigned to third base or short and not find himself in much trouble defensively.

Projection: Right now, Harman is looking like a utility infield prospect. With a little more development at the plate, he could potentially be a decent prospect for a second base job, but won't have the skills he'll need to push Chase Utley out of the way. He needed two seasons to conquer High-A ball in Clearwater and maybe just needs a second season with Reading to succeed at Double-A. While Harman hasn't shown consistency in his overall offensive numbers, going from a career-high of .303 all the way down to .210 and everywhere in-between, Harman did show amazing consistency at Reading when you consider that he hit .210 against both right-handers and left-handers and .210 prior to the all-star break and .210 after the break. If he can bring that number up to where the Phillies can trust him to hit at a consistent level, the problem will be solved.

ETA: Harman would figure to be at least two seasons away from challenging for a spot on a big league roster and may need a third if he continues his approach of needing two seasons to conquer the higher levels. His time in Philly was somewhat by default, but in another season or two, he could have himself to a point where filling a roster spot to cover an injury wouldn't be a big stretch. To fill any type of on-going role though, Harman is going to likely need three seasons.

Comparison: Right now, it's looking like Harman may be somewhat of an Eric Bruntlett type player with more power potential. When you consider how useful a player like Bruntlett can be, that's not a bad thing to be. Harman should be able to carve out a decent career for himself as a utility player at the major league level a few years down the road.

Brad Harman's career stats

2004 Clearwater 0 0 .000 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1.000 .000
2004 Gulf Coast 2 19 .230 51 183 23 42 10 0 11 41 .281 .317
2005 Lakewood 11 58 .303 105 419 63 127 23 1 45 89 .380 .442
2006 Clearwater 2 25 .241 119 423 59 102 19 1 48 102 .322 .305
2007 Clearwater 13 62 .281 122 448 63 126 26 5 40 105 .341 .449
2008 Reading 17 56 .210 117 443 49 93 16 1 43 138 .280 .366
2008 Philadelphia 0 1 .100 6 10 1 1 1 0 1 1 .182 .200
MINOR LEAGUETOTALS 45 220 .256 515 1916 258 490 94 8 188 475 .326 .384

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