Toronto Blue Jays Prospects

SCOUTS EYE: Toronto Blue Jays, RHP Hobie Harris

DUNEDIN, FLORIDA - MARCH 02: A general view from the outfield at TD Ballpark during a spring training game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies on March 02, 2021 in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
DUNEDIN, FLORIDA - MARCH 02: A general view from the outfield at TD Ballpark during a spring training game between the Toronto Blue Jays and the Philadelphia Phillies on March 02, 2021 in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Blue Jays have concealed weapons in their organization, hidden in the ranks of the farm system.  One of these weapons is a right-hander by the name of Hobie Harris.

As far as I’ve followed the Blue Jays as a fan, as an employee of the team, and now as a writer, pitching has by far been the team’s struggle.  Closers have been the ultimate weak-point in Toronto. We drove by the years of Billy Koch, Jason Frazier, Terry Adams, B.J. Ryan, and Miguel Batista.  From there we graduated to Casey Janssen and Scott Downs.  Finally, names such as Roberto Osuna, Ken Giles, now, Jordan Romano, and Julian Merryweather.  We’re going from no apples on the tree, now to an apple farm!

Let’s fast forward, but not too forward.  Have you heard the name, Hobie Harris?

Well, being a Yankee follower, I’ve had the privilege of keeping tabs on New York pitching.  Hobie Harris was drafted by the New York Yankees back in 2015 in the 31st round.  In December 2019, the Blue Jays selected Harris in the Rule 5 draft.  Harris is a Texas kid, out of the 2011 high school graduate class.  He went on to play his college baseball in Pittsburgh where he threw 90 innings, going 6-9, striking out 78, only walking 44 with a 3.90 ERA.  Harris was tabbed for his athleticism, velocity, and ability to work the shelves of the zone; teams loved this.

Hobie Harris has started the 2021 season with the Buffalo Bisons in AAA.   Why is this a guy to watch?  If you have an appreciation for hard nose, attack the at-bat type of pitchers, this is your guy!  Here’s a detailed look.

SCOUTING/EVALUATION REPORT: Hobbie Harris (RHP, Toronto Blue Jays)

GRADE SCALE:

Fastball: 60

Changeup: 50

Slider: 55

Control: 60

PHYSICAL MATURITY

Harris is athletic all around.  He’s built from head to toe, well-conditioned with a strong athletic frame. He stands 6’3”, scaling at 200lbs.

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PLAYER STRENGTH

Harris displays athleticism, with upper and lower half strength.  He has a durable arm, a strong finish, and recovery.  His arm strength is clearly displayed in the form of velocity.

PLAYER DEVELOPMENT

Scouts and evaluators advise that Harris had plateaued in his final year in the Yankees organization.  In 2019, he sat 92-95mph max fastball, full gas.  Harris is a work-horse; work ethic in personal player development gave him the extra juice.  We’ve seen Harris put in his work all off-season; working on various movements, plyometric style, and weighted ball routines.  Movements such as step backs to iron out movements towards the plate, focusing lower body explosion, hip mobility, torque, and power.  We’ve seen the fine changes in the mechanics of Harris; this giving the rapsodo and velocity numbers a kick.

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SYNOPSIS

When I watch Hobie Harris, I recall a few similar recent and previous arms. I visually compare Harris to RHP James Shields, former Tampa Bay Ray.  Very similar delivery and intensity.  Harris on the other hand possesses polished mechanics.  Harris uses his full body symmetrically with a connected system of movement.  Harris stays semi-square from the shoulders towards his catcher, with his weight on his back leg and unloading on delivery, with full rotation from the upside, and delivering over the top.  He repeats his mechanics consistently.  The ball flies out of his hand, averaging 97-99mph on his fastball, seeing a top-off at 100, with bite.  He has a reliable changeup and slider behind the fastball. Harris possesses’ a repertoire and demeanor to fit as a future set-up man or closer.  His intensity is comparable to Mike Timlin or Jonathan Papelbon.

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