Join Jays From the Couch as we review the highlights and lowlights of Toronto Blue Jays top prospect Jon Harris 2017 season
Coming into the 2017 season I had high expectations for Toronto’s 2015 1st round selection. After a solid season in 2016 with the Dunedin Blue Jays, Jon Harris was set to move up to Double-A. Harris would join New Hampshire’s starting rotation which consisted of Conner Greene, and Sean Reid-Foley. Harris, being the oldest in years and not years of service, would move more quickly with success.
This is where the high expectations come into play.
I felt that one of the three might make their MLB debut in 2017, knowing that Toronto’s starting pitching would be tested if their starting five had to miss any amount of time. I also felt good season’s for the trio would show the strength of the system.
Another reason for my optimism regarding Jon Harris was how well he took several changes the organization made to his delivery since making his professional debut in 2015. His delivery is cleaner, easier to repeat, and a longer stride has added mph to his fastball which has topped out at 97 mph. Harris has good life on his pitches, throwing a solid average to above average curve, and slider.
MLB Pipeline’s pre-season ranking had Harris sitting at number 8. He has since fallen all the way down to 20th.
Jon Harris Career Stats
The 24-yr-old’s 2017 season can be described as ‘character building’ because it was a struggle. The biggest ‘Highlight’ to be pointed out from the right-hander’s tumultuous season would be durability. Harris never saw the disabled list in 2017 which is huge after many questioned whether he had the durability to hold up as starting pitcher.
Harris led the Fisher Cats in innings pitched and was 2nd in games started. He also threw 112 pitches in a game and went 7IP five times.
While much of the 2017 season was a struggle, Harris put together a nice month of July. From July 1st to July 31st, Jon Harris posted a record of 2-2 with a 3.68 ERA in 5 starts. He walked just 7 and struck out 25 over 29.1 IP while posting a tidy 1.19 WHIP.
The 6-foot-4 righty can be wild at times but managed to stay in the zone a bit more in 2017 (maybe too much) with 64% of pitches throw going for strikes (1441).
The Fisher Cats starter had a season-high 8 K’s with one walk on August, 3 games with 7 strikeouts and 12 games with less than 2BB. Baseball reference has Harris’ highest game score at 75 on July 5th when he threw seven scoreless innings, allowing 3 hits and striking out 4 on 92 pitches.
In Jon Harris’s 2017 season/Double-A debut, he allowed 6 runs on 3HR, 9H. This game seemed to set the tone for what we could expect from Harris in 2017.
Home runs allowed really hurt Jon Harris. He allowed a total of 20 longballs in ’17, twice allowing 3 in a game and 2 in a game four times. He finished the year allowing 1.3 HR/9IP.
Along with too many balls leaving the yard, Harris allowed too many hits in general. Opponents hit .292 off the promising righty. He allowed a season-high 10 hits and more than 7 hits in a start 15 times, finishing with 10.6H/9IP and an ugly 1.51 WHIP.
All those hits tend to extend innings which can explain why Harris had eight starts of 5 or 6 with a pitch count of greater than 90 pitches. He just faced too many batters and allowed them to see too many pitches.
Jon Harris threw 2281 pitches and faced 640 batters in 143IP. He averaged 3.56 pitches per batter and 4.48 batters faced per inning pitched which is roughly 16 pitches per inning. He only faced 4.1 batters per inning in 2016.
MLB Pipeline has an ETA of 2018 for Harris.
Possible but not likely.
Harris will be 24-yrs-old and in his 4th season of professional in 2018, so the Blue Jays can afford to have him spend a 2nd full season in Double-A. He needs to develop an out pitch which will result in fewer batters faced and fewer pitches throw and should allow him to get deeper into games.
If Harris is unable to develop an ‘out’ pitch than his ceiling will be as a 5th starter or power are out of the bullpen where he can focus on throwing a 97 mph and an above average curve.
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