Name: Ben Harrison
DOB: September 18, 1981
When the Rangers picked up college senior Ben Harrison in the seventh round of the 2004 amateur draft, they felt like they had picked up one of the better steals of the draft.
One of the most prolific hitters in University of Florida history, Harrison hit .342 with 40 home runs over his four year career with the Gators. Harrison's senior season was especially dominant, as he hit .354 with 17 home runs and 70 runs batted in.
Harrison flashed his trademark power in his 2004 professional debut with the Short-Season Spokane Indians. The outfielder hit .271 while smacking 11 long balls in 55 contests.
Unfortunately for the native of Key West, Harrison's 2005 season was a bumpy ride.
The 6-foot-4 slugger struggled to stay on the field throughout the 2005 campaign, as he battled eye, wrist, and hamstring problems. Though he was able to appear in 95 games between Single-A and High-A, his numbers took a major hit. Harrison hit just .259 with 16 doubles and seven long balls between the two levels.
Finally healthy in 2006, the outfielder put himself back on the prospect map. Harrison hit .289 with 26 home runs between High-A Bakersfield and Double-A Frisco. Even though he got off to a slow start with the RoughRiders, he showed steady improvement as he became increasingly familiar with the Texas League pitching.
Earlier in the offseason, the 25-year-old expanded on his regular season success with Oriente of the Venezuelan Winter League. Harrison, who hit .311 with 17 extra base hits and 21 walks in 39 games, was among the league leaders in several offensive categories before sustaining a season-ending shoulder injury. Harrison has since had surgery and figures to be fully healthy for Spring Training.
Batting and Power: Clearly the forte of Harrison's game, his power should carry him to the Major Leagues. Harrison has the big body and power potential to become an everyday corner outfielder in the Majors. Though he has the tendency to strike out, the outfielder has recently improved his walk totals.
Base Running and Speed: Harrison's speed is not one of the stronger aspects of his game. Though he isn't going to steal many bases or leg out a lot of triples, he won't exactly be Bengie Molina either.
Defense: Harrison isn't going to rack up Gold Glove awards, but he will not be a liability in the outfield. His lack of speed often causes problems with range, but his solid arm will allow him to play a corner outfield position.
Projection: At his best, Harrison is a solid everyday corner outfielder who hits for an acceptable average, walks a decent amount, and hits for above-average power. Harrison figures to at least be a very good fourth outfielder who can provide power off of the bench.
2007 Outlook: At 25 years of age, the Rangers will want Harrison to face Triple-A pitching as soon as possible. Because he only appeared in 42 games with Double-A Frisco in 2006, there is a strong possibility that Harrison begins his season back with the RoughRiders. If the outfielder gets off to a strong start, the Rangers will more than likely not hesitate to promote him.