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March 20, 2005

by Fabian

Estee Harris, 20, LF

On last year’s list, I gushed over Harris’ tools, outside of his arm, and performance as I ranked him 6th. In retrospect, I may have been a bit early, but I think I’ve learned. While I should have been and WAS impressed with Harris’ power, I did not take enough note of his strikeout rate. 28 strikeouts in 101 GCL at bats is not a horrible rate, but something I’m more conscious of when ranking prospects is that as they progress through a system, it is possible that they will make less contact and there comes a point where lack of contact seriously cuts into production (this, amongst other reasons is why I’m not as high as everyone else on Dallas McPherson). In summation, while Harris was not horrendous at making contact, he did have some troubles and coming from a North Eastern H.S. program I should have been more restrained in ranking him because in ’04, Harris had some troubles.

Harris began the season with the Battle Creek Yankees of the Low-A Midwest League and his at bats had a consistent feel. Harris would step to the plate, take a couple pitches outside the zone, swing and miss on the hitter’s pitches, rip a line shot foul, and then strikeout. 192 at bats and 81 strikeouts later, the Yankee organization decided that it was time to give the Harris in full season ball experiment a rest. Returning to the GCL where he dominated in ’03, Harris continued to do nothing statistically as 15 ABs produced 1 hit, a home run, and 6 strikeouts. The Yankees decided to give him a shot in the NYPL though and Harris had his best performance of the season. Harris was around league average in AVG and OBP and way above average in SLG, though his declined strikeout rate, 65 in 173, is still very worrisome.

Entering ’05 I’m not nearly as optimistic about Harris, but feel he should be able to put together a solid season. He still has very good power, the sound of the ball leaving his bat (on those occasions where he did connect) was only approached or exceeded by Duncan and Andrus on the BC team, and the rest of his tools, outside of the arm, are still good. Perhaps aggressiveness earlier in the count or altering his swing will be necessary, but if some sort of successful change is possible Harris will become quite the prospect.

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