More on Brendan Harris
At one time, Baseball Prospectus compared Brendan Harris, favorably, to Albert Pujols. That’s the kind of comparison that gives statistical analysis a bad reputation. Harris never had Pujols’ power, and had more polish, less projection. At that time, Harris was projected as a third baseman; for several reasons (primarily Aramis Ramirez and a 32-home-run season by Tony Batista) he never got there, and got a chance to play as the starting shortstop for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2007. Since then, he’s been a utility player.
I bring this up because I earlier posted an entry about Brendan Harris at shortstop. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been amused; I should have been angry. For earlier this month, J.J. Hardy was in Norfolk on a major league rehabilitation assignment. In the first game Hardy played, an Indianapolis Indian hit a hard groundball back up the middle. Hardy moved to his left; gloved the ball; and threw the runner out at first base.
In the next series, against Syracuse, Hardy had finished his rehab and Brendan Harris was in the lineup at shortstop. With the bases loaded, a Chief hit another groundball up the middle. This was hit slower than the groundball Hardy made the play on, plus it was hit closer to the normal shortstop position. Harris moved to his left but was still a step away from the ball when it bounded into the outfield.
That play made it clear that Brendan Harris has no business playing shortstop — he simply doesn’t have the range for it. And that made me angry. Angry that the Baltimore Orioles are forcing their AAA affiliate to play a manifestly unqualified shortstop. Angry that the Orioles are forcing the Tides to stockpile past-their-prime backups to no good end. And, frankly, angry that no one is calling Buck Showalter out on this.