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Josh Harrison--Uh, oh... GO NEAL? Rate Topic: -----

#1 User is offline   Jeff King 

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 10:31 AM

We're only a month into the season, so obviously there's plenty of time for things to change. But as of now, Josh Harrison is looking a lot more like the Josh Harrison nobody gave a fuck about, before Pedro lost his 3B job last year:

2011: 195 ABs/13 2B/ 1 HR/.272 Avg/.281 OBP/.374 Slg/.656 OPS/83 OPS+

2012: 249 ABs/9 2B/3 HR/.233 Avg/.279 OBP/.345 Slg/.624 OPS/73 OPS+

2013: 88 ABs/1 2B/3 HR/.250 Avg/.290 OBP/.409 Slg/.699 OPS/96 OPS +

2014: 520 ABs/38 2B/13 HR/.315 Avg/.347 OBP/.490 Slg/.837 OPS/133 OPS+

2015: 84 ABs/6 2B/2 HR/.202 Avg/.239 OBP/.345 Slg/.584 OPS/61 OPS +

One of these seasons looks vastly different from the others. If he turns out to be a flash in the pan, that creates a lot of problems for us. We'll be losing Pedro and Walker soon enough. We really don't have a lot of infield prospects waiting to break through. Bell may replace Pedro, but so far he's showing no signs of developing any power. Hanson, may replace Walker, but he's certainly not going to be the offensive player that walker is. I'd say there's a much stronger chance Hanson busts than there is a chance of him becoming a long term answer.

Obviously we know that Cutch is struggling, but I'm not at all worried about him long term based on his career performance thus far and the fact that he's clearly injured this year. But Harrison? I'm definitely worried. With the contract that NEAL just signed him to, Harrison has a place as a starter on this team through at least 2018. I can't even imagine how bad this will be if 2014 was a fluke and we're paying him $10 mil per year by the end of his guaranteed deal.

I'm really hoping that the reason he was so good in 2014 was that it was the first time he got a full season to play everyday. But what's happened in 2015 so far would say that's not the case. Maybe this season the sample size is too small and he'll get hot as the season goes on.

So, what do you all say? Was Harrison's 2014 a fluke and are we stuck with a scrub as a starter? Or will he pull his head out of his ass and get back to his 2014 levels of production?

This is clearly the most important topic on the board right now.
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#2 User is offline   bucc-o-pain 

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 10:38 AM

I'm going to take this as some early vindication.
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#3 User is online   donwengert4life 

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 10:39 AM

View PostJeff King, on 02 May 2015 - 10:31 AM, said:

We're only a month into the season, so obviously there's plenty of time for things to change. But as of now, Josh Harrison is looking a lot more like the Josh Harrison nobody gave a fuck about, before Pedro lost his 3B job last year:

2011: 195 ABs/13 2B/ 1 HR/.272 Avg/.281 OBP/.374 Slg/.656 OPS/83 OPS+

2012: 249 ABs/9 2B/3 HR/.233 Avg/.279 OBP/.345 Slg/.624 OPS/73 OPS+

2013: 88 ABs/1 2B/3 HR/.250 Avg/.290 OBP/.409 Slg/.699 OPS/96 OPS +

2014: 520 ABs/38 2B/13 HR/.315 Avg/.347 OBP/.490 Slg/.837 OPS/133 OPS+

2015: 84 ABs/6 2B/2 HR/.202 Avg/.239 OBP/.345 Slg/.584 OPS/61 OPS +

One of these seasons looks vastly different from the others. If he turns out to be a flash in the pan, that creates a lot of problems for us. We'll be losing Pedro and Walker soon enough. We really don't have a lot of infield prospects waiting to break through. Bell may replace Pedro, but so far he's showing no signs of developing any power. Hanson, may replace Walker, but he's certainly not going to be the offensive player that walker is. I'd say there's a much stronger chance Hanson busts than there is a chance of him becoming a long term answer.

Obviously we know that Cutch is struggling, but I'm not at all worried about him long term based on his career performance thus far and the fact that he's clearly injured this year. But Harrison? I'm definitely worried. With the contract that NEAL just signed him to, Harrison has a place as a starter on this team through at least 2018. I can't even imagine how bad this will be if 2014 was a fluke and we're paying him $10 mil per year by the end of his guaranteed deal.

I'm really hoping that the reason he was so good in 2014 was that it was the first time he got a full season to play everyday. But what's happened in 2015 so far would say that's not the case. Maybe this season the sample size is too small and he'll get hot as the season goes on.

So, what do you all say? Was Harrison's 2014 a fluke and are we stuck with a scrub as a starter? Or will he pull his head out of his ass and get back to his 2014 levels of production?

This is clearly the most important topic on the board right now.


His BAbip is .227. He'll rebound. Maybe not to where he was last year, but he's not a .202 hitter.
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#4 User is offline   Jeff King 

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 10:43 AM

View Postdonwengert4life, on 02 May 2015 - 10:39 AM, said:

His BAbip is .227. He'll rebound. Maybe not to where he was last year, but he's not a .202 hitter.


I had a feeling the BABIP would be brought up. And there may very well be some validity to that. But in the small sample size of 2015, he's not even performing to the same level of offensive production from when he was a part time player before 2014.

So, if he raises his BABIP, does that only get him back to where he was as a bench player? If so, we have problems.
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#5 User is offline   aso513 

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 10:53 AM

I'm worried to an extent but he is still hitting line drives at a similar rate as last year.
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#6 User is offline   bucc-o-pain 

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 11:10 AM

PCP!
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#7 User is offline   Penguin 

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 11:15 AM

I was always confident he would never duplicate his 2014 season as it would be his high water mark. Which would be okay as long as there wasn't a significant drop off. I also had a measure of confidence in the Pirates' ability to understand this and project what he could realistically expect moving forward. But as JK points out, the early results are not good.

His BABip is down from last year's unsustainable .353, but I don't think we'll see a dramatic increase from his current .227. I just don't think he'll maintain one near, let alone above, .300.

His LD% is slightly down from last year, so I disagree he's hitting a lot of LD's. As a matter of fact, it's right around his career average even including last year's outlier.

So I suspect he will improve, but he'll be much closer to what we've seen this year than last. And that's a bad thing. He's locked up for another three years after 2015 and as has been mentioned, it's not like there are valid replacements on the horizon.

I would love to be wrong.
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#8 User is online   donwengert4life 

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 11:22 AM

His BABip in 2013 and 2012 was around .250, which is also unusually low for a major league hitter.

Now maybe for some reason his BAbip level is naturally just much lower than that of almost every other major league player. But it is hard to see why that would be the case. Fast guys who make good contact shouldn't have a BAbip of .250 or .260.
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#9 User is offline   silverspring 

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 11:26 AM

View Postbucc-o-pain, on 02 May 2015 - 11:10 AM, said:

PCP!

I don't think drugs are the answer.
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#10 User is offline   mzimmerman81 

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 11:29 AM

View Postsilverspring, on 02 May 2015 - 11:26 AM, said:

I don't think drugs are the answer.

They are always the answer
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#11 User is offline   Penguin 

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 11:47 AM

View Postdonwengert4life, on 02 May 2015 - 11:22 AM, said:

His BABip in 2013 and 2012 was around .250, which is also unusually low for a major league hitter.

Now maybe for some reason his BAbip level is naturally just much lower than that of almost every other major league player. But it is hard to see why that would be the case. Fast guys who make good contact shouldn't have a BAbip of .250 or .260.

.290 to .300 may be the league average, but not all players hover immediately around that level. You've got your freaks like McCutchen, Pujols, Votto, Cabrera, Holliday, Braun and Wright who come in at .340 or above. So that leaves plenty of regulars who fall in the .260 to .270 range. Perhaps Harrison is a career .300 BAbip guy, but I'm not so sure.

As I said, he will be better than what we've seen over the first month. The question is how much. My concern is well below league average.
"The business of baseball is to make money, not break even. I don't understand why you think the Pirates should run their team like a charity." - Willlton 6/18/2009

"The Bay trade doesn't look like it (a slam dunk winner), but if you take into account the fact that all they lost was eight months of Jason Bay's services, as well as the fact that even the Red Sox look like they won't be able to re-sign him, it's not nearly the loser many people seem to think." - tWTM 11/26/2009

"Morton is finding himself, now while this may sound weird and out there, but the fact he put on a solo concert at Piratefest shows he finally has the confidence that he lacked within himself that he didn't have in the lower minors." - aso513 2/8/2010

"Dave Littlefield vindicated." - Xiga 4/30/2011 after one scoreless inning of relief by Daniel Moskos.

"Hanrahan and Cedeno would be a gross overpayment for Belt. Sorry, but I'll stick with my realistic analysis of the market and the teams involved." - Steve Zielinski 5/25/2011

"He (Barmes) could have a .000 Batting Average and still be an asset." - bradlej31 5/28/2012

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#12 User is offline   silverspring 

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 12:13 PM

So giving a guy a contract after one outstanding season that followed years of nothing close to that level of production might not have been a good idea? Interesting.

For the record I think he'll be just fine. But I might have waited until, oh, June to see if it was worth trying to hammer out a contract.
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Posted 02 May 2015 - 12:15 PM

Hoping it's not the return of "J4A"...
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#14 User is offline   clemente_in_right 

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 01:20 PM

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My initial thought was: He's not as bad as this year and likely not as good as last year. But, also likely better than he was 2011 to 2013. My reasoning was that I don't think players who post 5 WAR seasons often fall off a cliff. But, sometimes they do and perhaps they do with more frequency I thought when I looked into it.

The question: how many times in the NH era has a player posted at least one 5 WAR season without ever having posted a 3 WAR in a different season for their career?

Since 2008, 117 different players have at least one 5 WAR season. In that time frame, 78 of them have ONLY one 5 WAR season. Out of those 78, 20 of them do not have another season in their career in which they posted 3 WAR or better. That list of 20 includes JHay.

I broke those 19 (non-JHay) players down into two groups that was just about equally divided.

Clearly Career Years
Alex Avila
Alex Gonzalez
Andres Torres
Carlos Quentin
Daric Barton
Franklin Gutierrez
Grady Sizemore - injuries and all that
Peter Bourjos
Ryan Ludwick
Steve Pearce - maybe I'm jumping the gun here, but I don't think so

Young Players with Plenty of Time for a 3+ War Year - or perhaps far more success than that
Adam Eaton
Anthony Rendon
Anthony Rizzo
Chris Davis
Jose Abreu
Jose Altuve
Manny Machado
Matt Carpenter
Todd Frazier

So, at least about once per season there is a player who - perhaps unexpectedly - posts a 5 WAR season and then fades into mediocrity. I hope that's not JHay. I really, really hope its not JHay.
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Posted 02 May 2015 - 01:50 PM

Meh. It's April. Pitching is ahead of the hitting.

He'll get better real quick as it warms up.
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Posted 02 May 2015 - 02:21 PM

Not worried about Harrison's slow start at face value. The BABIP is low and Mercer, after all, started horribly last year and wound up having a solid season.

I am a little worried that Harrison might be a one-year wonder and the Pirates signed a utility player to a contract that didn't need to be signed.
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#17 User is offline   Martini 

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 04:56 PM

I have more faith in JHay improving than I do Zimm. Hell at this point I have more faith in PEDRO becoming a batting champion than I do Zimm.
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#18 User is offline   bucc-o-pain 

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 05:34 PM

View PostMartini, on 02 May 2015 - 04:56 PM, said:

I have more faith in JHay improving than I do Zimm. Hell at this point I have more faith in PEDRO becoming a batting champion than I do Zimm.

Why do you want Zimm to fail?
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Posted 02 May 2015 - 07:39 PM

View PostPenguin, on 02 May 2015 - 11:15 AM, said:

I was always confident he would never duplicate his 2014 season as it would be his high water mark. Which would be okay as long as there wasn't a significant drop off. I also had a measure of confidence in the Pirates' ability to understand this and project what he could realistically expect moving forward. But as JK points out, the early results are not good.

His BABip is down from last year's unsustainable .353, but I don't think we'll see a dramatic increase from his current .227. I just don't think he'll maintain one near, let alone above, .300.

Harrison's BABIP is .307 for his career. I doubt his 'natural' number would be significantly below 300. I mean, why would it? Those numbers are usually reserved for lumbering fly-ball hitters with 40 hit tools. Harrison is a balanced hitter with a hit tool somewhere between 45 and 55, and he's not slow. .300 seems like a really reasonable, middle-of-the-road estimate to me.

That said, I agree that he'll never duplicate his 2014. But if he comes back up to his reasonable, middle-of-the-road BABIP of .300, that will result in average to slightly above average overall numbers. That's obviously not what Neal was picturing when he offered Harrison one of the largest contracts in franchise history, but on the field it won't kill the Pirates.
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#20 User is offline   Martini 

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Posted 02 May 2015 - 08:01 PM

View Postbucc-o-pain, on 02 May 2015 - 05:34 PM, said:

Why do you want Zimm to fail?

Zimm has become the right handed 2013 NYPirate.

Apologies to NYP - you're much better now.
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