Harman's Slow Start A Thing Of The Past

Brad Harman didn't have a great start to his 2009 season, but for the last ten days, there have been few hitters hotter than he is at the plate. Ironically, Reading hasn't played well even though they've had Harman's rejuvenated offense to help.

Some guys are just slow starters and Brad Harman was definitely one of those guys for the first five weeks of the season. Harman entered the month of May hitting just .214 and saw that drop to just .206 after an 0-for-4 on May 8.

Since then, Harman has been on fire. Since then, he's gone 16-for-37 (.432) and has hit safely in eight of his last nine games and raised his average to .269 for the season, the highest it's been since Opening Day when he went 2-for-6.

Granted, nine games isn't enough of a sample size to base much of a judgment on, but what we're seeing could be Harman adjusting to the rigors of Double-A ball. This run has been Harman's best at Double-A since he hit in eight of nine last June, going 11-for-36 (.306) and raising his average from .222 to .231 for Reading.

Some players require a little longer to adjust to a level and Harman could finally be conquering Double-A pitching. After all, it took him two seasons to conquer High-A Clearwater after he hit just .241 in 2006 and returned to the Threshers in 2007 and hit .281 before moving to Reading the following season.

At one time, Harman was considered a top prospect in the organization, but his star has fallen with a down season at Reading in 2008. When you consider his long adjustment to the Florida State League, his down first season in the Eastern League shouldn't have really come as that much of a surprise.

Harman's situation with the Phillies is somewhat precarious though. With Chase Utley firmly entrenched at second base and both Jimmy Rollins and Jason Donald ahead of Harman on the depth chart at short, there isn't a clear path for Harman to follow. Ultimately, he may be auditioning for a spot with another organization as part of a trade unless the Phillies give him a shot at being a utility player at the major league level.

Harman had a short stint with the Phillies last season and could be in line for a September call-up this fall if he continues to hit well at Reading. The thought of Harman becoming a major league utility player isn't very far-fetched, although he will obviously need more time in the minors before he would be deemed ready to officially battle for a spot with the big league club.

For now though, Harman is helping Reading (19-15) in their battle for the Eastern League's Southern Division crown. Ironically, Harman's hot streak has coincided with a downturn for Reading that has seen them lose five of their last eight games.

If Harman is truly conquering Double-A, then his status as a prospect is bound to rise.



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