Blue Jays On The Fringe of Forty: Jon Harris

Jays From the Couch continues profiles of those not on Toronto Blue Jays 40 man roster. This time we look at pitcher, Jon Harris.

 

If you’re a Blue Jays fan, you’re on the lookout for pitching prospects… constantly. It’s what every team is in search of. Arms that have the capability of shutting down an opponent’s offense, giving the team a win no matter how big or small the hits may be. The Blue Jays’ pen has had its moments, but by and large hasn’t been doing the job needed. A quiet- so far – set of bats to back them up hasn’t helped. The solution to this conundrum is quite obvious…take a look and see what’s coming up the ranks.

Jon Harris, from Florissant Missouri was born in St. Louis on October 16, 1993. He played college ball for Missouri State before being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays on June 8, 2015. The right-handed pitcher had been selected previously by the Jays but chose to attend college and get some education and conditioning behind him before making the leap to professional ball. Judging from his performance at Missouri State, it was the right move.

The first time the Blue Jays took a stab at him was in 2012 in the 33rd round, but the second time proved to be the charm. The Jays, who had thought he would be selected before they got the chance, we’re happy to acquire the young pitcher who was ranked 29th overall from Missouri State- though Baseball America had him ranked 25th. Many considered this a steal as he was thought to have ranked much higher.

Brian Parker, the Blue Jays amateur scouting director, spoke of the acquisition of Harris to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet June 8th, 2015.

“It’s a young, athletic kid with a big frame and a great fastball,” Parker said. “He’s got (fastball) life and he’s got sink and he can really command the fastball. Secondary (pitches are) probably the one thing that he needs to work on … but he can pitch with his fastball. That’s his biggest thing right now.”

Harris is a four-pitch pitcher, and his arsenal includes a fastball clocked in between 92-95 mph, a curveball, a change up and a slider. He is also known for being quick, not leaving time between throws. Harris himself has been clear about this.

“I like to get the ball and go,” he said. “I don’t like to sit and waste time between pitches. I like to get what I want and deliver the ball to home plate.”

Though he posted good numbers at Missouri state, going 8-2 with a 2.45 ERA in 103 innings with 116 strikeouts, he had a harder start with the Vancouver Canadians, posting a record of 0-5 with a 6.75 ERA. The 6’4″ 180lb pitcher looked to bulk up to increase his fastball velocity.

It was definitely a good idea for Harris to focus on his education first off, finishing his degree is very important to him and something he has in common with future teammate Marcus Stroman. It has certainly helped Harris with the life skills and maturity needed to navigate the professional baseball world.

This season has seen the best start of his career so far, playing with the Lansing Lugnuts he has posted 11 strikeouts in seven-innings pitched with one walk, and a 1.05 ERA. That made for five consecutive scoreless starts for the right-hander. He has, as of May 23rd, extended his scoreless streak to 32, throwing seven scoreless innings. Our own, Ryan Mueller sat down with Harris a little bit ago, which you can READ HERE.

Continuing in this path will see Harris move through the ranks quickly, eventually landing in New Hampshire with the Fisher Cats and a phone call away from the Majors via the Toronto Blue Jays. It is still early days for Harris, but the promise is there and he is just on the fringe of forty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

*Featured Image Credit: Kris Robinson UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0

 

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Catherine Stem

Catherine Stem is a Blue Jays fan and writer who has combined both of these great things by writing for Jays From the Couch. Through all the ups and downs of baseball, all aspects of the game are explored. Keeping a close eye on the Blue Jays Triple A team, the Buffalo Bisons has also become part of her make-up.