After a rocky debut in 2015, the Blue Jays’ Jon Harris opened eyes in 2016 and figures to pick up where he left off
No on anticipated Jon Harris’ struggles in his first professional season. He was a recently drafted first round prospect coming in to low A ball. One might have expected a green high school draftee to flounder facing players a few years older but Harris was drafted out of college. He was facing young men his own age.
Yet, the Missouri State alum looked a little lost. Looking back, Harris attributes his rough year to a lack of consistency and the process of finding himself as a pitcher. Surely the transition and the pressure played a part as well. Harris also saw a large increase in his workload. Over 11 starts and 36 innings he posted a 6.75 ERA and walked 21 versus 32 strikeouts. In 2016, however, he was a new man and credited his coaches with the resurgence.
Name: Jon Harris
Position: P Age: 22
Height: 6’4” Age: 175 lbs.
Throws: Right Bats: Right
Acquired: 1st round pick (2015)
The Blue Jays originally came knocking when they selected Harris in the 33rd round of the 2012 draft but he felt like he could improve his position (and bonus). It turned out to be the right choice as after 2 1/2 years with MSU, he was drafted again by the Jays—this time as the 29th overall selection and with a $2 million bonus.
Harris was shipped off straight away to Vancouver where, as stated above, he had his issues. The organization wasn’t disturbed by his debut and had enough confidence in his potential to go ahead with a promotion to Lansing for 2016. Harris quickly put his initial difficulties in the rearview mirror. Over 16 starts and 84.2 innings with Lansing he put up a 2.23 ERA, 2.93 FIP, allowed just one home run, cut his walk rate in half (2.6 BB/9) and sustained his strikeout rate (7.8 K/9).
He earned a second promotion in the latter part of the season to Dunedin. Strikeouts were harder to come by at the A+ level but he kept his walk and home run rates stable. He posted a 3.60 ERA and 3.68 FIP with the FSL Jays.
Harris is tall but slender. He could stand to add a fair bit of bulk to his frame. Scouts believe he could tack on some additional velocity to his fastball and increase his durability. Harris throws in the low 90s currently and can reach the mid-90s at times. His fastball is considered a very effective weapon while his curve, slider and change are viewed as average or slightly above average.
Harris, in our rankings and most others, is the club’s 2nd best pitching prospect. Top honours belong to Sean Reid-Foley. However, all that really separates Harris from Foley is a few MPH on the fastball. If Harris can bulk up a bit and add some more zip to his fastball, he and Foley would be near equals.
MLB.com lists Harris’ outlook as a future mid-rotation starter. He’s likely heading back to the Florida State League to begin 2017 and, if all goes well could receive a promotion to New Hampshire mid-season. Look for Harris to crack the bigs late-2018 or early 2019.
Top-30 Blue Jays prospect rankings:
#30: RHP Jordan Romano #29: RHP Yennsy Diaz #28: CF Reggie Pruitt
#27: 1B Ryan McBroom #26: CF Roemon Fields #25: 2B Cavan Biggio
#24: RHP Jose Espada #23: RHP Patrick Murphy #22: C Danny Jansen
#21: OF Dwight Smith Jr. #20: RHP Zach Jackson #19: RHP Francisco Rios
#18: OF Harold Ramirez #17: C Max Pentecost #16: Ryan Borucki
#15: OF Joshua Palacios #14: OF J.B. Woodman #13: C Reese McGuire
#12: RHP Conner Greene #11: IF/OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. #10: SS Bo Bichette
#9: LHP Angel Perdomo #8: RHP Justin Maese