Blue Jays 2016 Top Prospect: #6 Jon Harris

Toronto Blue Jays used their 1st round pick of 2015 on Jon Harris and he lands at #6 on the Jays From the Couch 2016 Top 15 Prospect list

 

During his time as the Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos used 5 of his 6 first round picks on pitchers, with right-handed pitcher Jon Harris being the 5th.

DOB Oct. 16, 1993
Bat: R
Throws: R

Expected to go between 15th-20th overall, Jonathan Richard Harris was selected 29th overall in the 2015 draft, signing on June 16, 2015. Blue Jays  Area Scout, Dallas Black, inked the product of Missouri State for $1.944M. This was the second time the Jays selected Harris, picking him in the 33rd round of the 2012 draft.

I was 6-foot, 160 pounds coming out of high school, and I knew I wasn’t that high quality of a guy,” Harris said. “I’d fallen in love with the school, the history that school has brought. It was a tough decision, but I felt like Missouri State was the best for me in order to get better and get where I am today. – Baseball America

During his time with Missouri State, Harris amassed a 19-9 record with a 3.09 ERA in 39 starts, 3 complete games, one shutout, and 2 saves. He pitched over 250 innings, allowing 215 hits and struck out 243 batters. In his draft year, Jon registered his highest K/9 (10.14) and his lowest BB/9 (3.15). However, he did finish that year with 14 wild pitches which was also a career high. Not only did he mature as a pitcher, but as a man. Jonathan added 4 inches and 15lbs, and now stands 6’4″ and 175lbs.

After pitching 103 inning in Missouri State, Jonathan was assigned to Vancouver, pitching an additional 36 innings. For 2015, the young right-handed pitcher threw an inning shy of 140, up from 79.2 in 2014 and 76.2 in 2013. Those close to the team saw a tired young man.

The Hazelwood Central alumni throws a low-90’s fastball that can hit 95mph that he throws from a high three-quarter arm slot. His 12-6 curve is considered a plus pitch and his strongest offering. Harris also throws an above average slider, and a potential plus change that is currently below average. The 22-yr-old showed he could work deep into games as he averaged 110 pitches per start in his final year with the Bearcats.

Control continued to be an issue for Harris in the Northwest League, walking 5.25 batters per 9 innings during his time with the Canadians, while missing his fair share of bats with a decent 8.00 K/9. He managed a decent 4.02 FIP, showing the potential for better results in 2016. The competition made a lot of hard contact with 48 hits in 36IP and an ugly .388 BABIP.

To be fair, Harris was on a strict pitch limit, and he was getting used to pitching every 5th day after pitching every 7th day in college. Being on a pitch count, and knowing that you are on pitch count forces you to throw more strikes, which can be a bad thing when those strikes leak over the plate too much.

His best start came against Hillsboro on August 14th. Harris pitched in the 5th inning for the first time, allowing 4 hits, no runs, 2 walks, and 4 strike outs. We can expect more starts like this in the coming years.

Outlook for 2016

Despite a poor showing with Vancouver (0-5, 6.75 ERA), Harris should get his first taste of full season professional baseball in 2016. The new Jays management will show more patience moving prospects up than in years past, so don’t expect too much movement from younger prospects. Harris shouldn’t fall into that category, as he turned 22 in October and has already thrown over 130 innings in a single season.

Expect Harris to start the year in Lansing for an audition, but he should spend most of the 2016 season with the Dunedin Blue Jays. He will show off his potential mid-rotation form and will continue to struggle with his control.

Fun Facts- While playing for Missouri State in 2015, Jon Harris allowed 2 home runs all year. The first of those home runs were hit by fellow Vancouver Canadian and 2015 Blue Jays draft pick Connor Panas.

ETA: 2017, as a reliever. 2018 as starter.

 

*Featured Image Credit: 3dpete UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0

 

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Shaun Doyle

Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.