After Francisco Liriano was traded, the next contract that Pirates fans started looking at was Josh Harrison’s extension. Harrison signed an extension at the start of the 2015 season, guaranteeing him $7.5 M in 2017, $10 M in 2018, and options of $10.5 M ($1 M buyout) in 2019 and $11 M ($5 M buyout) in 2020.  In total, the Pirates owe Harrison a guaranteed $18.5 M for the next two years.

That has led to a lot of bad, unoriginal jokes about how Harrison will be traded with prospects in the future to dump the salary. The thing is, Harrison is actually worth his salary. The price for one WAR on the open market is about $7 M. At $18.5 M, Harrison needs to put up about 2.6 WAR total over the next two years.

Harrison is coming off a season where he had a 1.5 fWAR. Last year he had a 1.3 fWAR. We could go back further, but I don’t think anyone expects him to repeat his 5.0 fWAR season, although that season does give hope that he could exceed his 2015-16 production. Still, I’d say that an average of 1.4 WAR per year would be expected production going forward, and wouldn’t be difficult for Harrison to reach. As such, his contract is pretty fair for the next two years.

There’s not a lot of value to be had with Harrison’s deal, but the Pirates aren’t losing value either. Harrison is a below average second baseman, but there’s an argument to be made with keeping him as a starter. Among the 31 second basemen with 350+ plate appearances, Harrison ranked 23rd this year in fWAR. Offensively, he was near the bottom of the pack, ranking 27th in wOBA and 28th in wRC+. He did have some value on the bases, ranking 7th in base running runs. He also ranked 10th in UZR/150 and fourth in Defensive Runs Saved.

This all explains why Harrison was the guy everyone looked at as the next bad contract to be unloaded. The things he does aren’t valued as high, but do have value to the Pirates. His defense, and his base running to a smaller degree, drive his value. That’s what allows him to put up the overall results that make him worth his contract, even if there’s not a lot of excess value.

It also wasn’t a surprise to see calls for Adam Frazier to take over as the starting second baseman going forward. Frazier had a 0.7 fWAR in half a season, while putting up a .335 wOBA and 110 wRC+, compared to .301 and 87 from Harrison. But Frazier’s defense at second base isn’t as good as Harrison’s defense, and he’s also not as good of a base runner. The offense grabs the attention, and the defense and base running are ignored.

Frazier did see his offense start to fade as the season went on, with a .412 wOBA and a 162 wRC+ in his first month, and a .301 wOBA and an 88 wRC+ in his final two months. To be fair, he was dragged down by a horrible August, and rebounded in September. I wouldn’t say he’s as bad as the August stats, and I wouldn’t say he’s as good as the July stats. The September stats seem pretty realistic, with a .324 wOBA and a 103 wRC+. That’s still better than Harrison, but not enough to make up from the drop in defensive value and base running value.

The Future

The Pirates have a choice going forward: Offense or defense. They can go with Harrison, sacrifice some offense, and have a much better infield defense as a result. Or they could go with Frazier and sacrifice the infield defense in favor of added offense.

When you look at their results, they really don’t need to sacrifice defense for offense. They finished with a .318 wOBA, which ranked sixth in the NL. Their 99 wRC+ ranked third. Those offensive results came with a few really bad individual performances, and most players slumping from their normal numbers. Meanwhile, they were the third worst defensive team in the league, and third worst in base running. They can afford the drop in offense from Frazier to Harrison in exchange for keeping one of their better defenders and base runners in the lineup, maintaining value at their weakest areas.

The Pirates would be better off sticking with Harrison as the starter. He’s worth his contract, and they can afford that price. You could make the argument that they could find someone with similar value who makes less, and use the money saved to upgrade the team elsewhere. For that to happen, they’d have to find an internal option, and the only options right now are downgrades defensively. Frazier would be the top replacement, and I’ve already gone over his strengths and weaknesses.

Beyond Frazier, there’s Alen Hanson, who has the potential to be just as good as Harrison in terms of value. However, I wouldn’t count on that happening just yet. Hanson has struggled in his initial jump to each level, taking some time to adjust. He has also been inconsistent with the bat, which doesn’t matter as much with the Harrison comparison, since Hanson has some good defense. But the defense has also been inconsistent at times. His biggest issue the last two years is that he presses too hard in order to try and make the majors. He’s out of options next year, and will have to be on the active roster. Perhaps that will allow him to settle down and ease in to the big leagues. But he’d have to win the job from Harrison, rather than just being handed the job.

Sean Rodriguez had a big year, and also has good defense at second base. But I’m not sure that I’d bank on him repeating his offense, especially when he’s probably going to cost around the same amount as Harrison.

Max Moroff is the other big prospect from Indianapolis, although his upside is more of a utility infielder, and he didn’t have a strong follow up to his breakout year with Altoona in 2015. He could be a depth option for the bench next year, but doesn’t project to be a starter. Erich Weiss should make the jump to Indianapolis, and has the same upside as a bench infielder, if he makes the majors.

The best long-term options are lower in the system, and are tied to the shortstop battle. Kevin Newman looks like the shortstop of the future, at least in the sense that he will be the first guy who arrives out of the minor league shortstop depth. The Pirates also have Cole Tucker, Stephen Alemais, and Adrian Valerio in A-ball, and if one of those three joins Newman, the Pirates will have a decision to make about who moves over to second base. Newman should arrive by the middle of 2018, and maybe sooner, but the earliest the other three would arrive would be 2019, which happens to be when Harrison’s options kick in.

The best second base prospect in the lower levels would be Kevin Kramer. He didn’t have strong numbers this year, but he hit the ball hard all season, and kind of reminds me of how Frazier looked at the same level. Frazier also didn’t put up the best numbers in Bradenton, but watching him live, you could see the talent was there, and his at-bats looked better than the box score indicated. I saw the same thing from Kramer this year, and wouldn’t be surprised if he goes to Altoona and has a big season at the plate, similar to what Frazier did after moving up from Bradenton.

Kramer has improved his defense at second base, looking much more comfortable with the turn on the double play this year, and showing the range of a shortstop at the position. He has more power potential than the other players in this article, and if he does break out with the bat, he could challenge one of the shortstops for that future starting job, while also arriving quicker than guys like Tucker or Alemais. Pablo Reyes is another second baseman with the range of a shortstop and some power potential, but he’s inconsistent with both, and falls behind Kramer on the depth chart.

In the short-term, the Pirates are fine with Harrison, as he does well in the areas where they need production. In the long-term, they’ve got a lot of prospects in Bradenton and Altoona who could take over for Harrison, just as his option years start to kick in. It wouldn’t be a problem to see Harrison as the starter the next two years. It might be a problem to see him as the starter beyond 2018, since that would mean things went wrong with a lot of prospects.

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65 COMMENTS

  1. Hooboy, we’ve got a lively one here. Tim, I’m of the opinion that you’re not doing anything wrong in the creation of these people’s misconceptions. This site is saturated with info on players (which is a good thing, to be clear) and we read about these guys over and over to the point that we almost feel like they’re a part of out lives. I love that you use the term “realistic” because that’s the way your assessments always come across. Anyone who knows anything about the way the human memory works knows that memory is actually the WORST way to remember things. Memory distorts and edits things all the time. I think what happens here is we read about these guys and all their attributes and we come away with a good feeling about them, then over the course of weeks and months our memories mull this over and warp those feelings into a perception that these guys are going to be studs. It’s truly human nature (example: remember the 80s movie The Best of Times? His many TDs did Reno Hightower really throw in that game vs. how many did people think he threw, years later?) . Tim, you couldn’t be any clearer in your assessments, and I hope you don’t change a thing about the way this site reports on prospects.

  2. There is reason to hope that Harrison’s 2017 offensive production will be an average of his 2015 and 2016 production and will be an improvement over last year.

  3. I disagree on his value. He is not a top of the lineup disciplined hitter. He brings energy and competes but his power is not there as it was when he played part time. Baseball economics being what they are, he should be expendable after this year. 10 million is not the best allocation for a team in need of a closer and starting pitching. Nutting doesn’t have revenue to make 10 to 11 million signings for players who lack power. Cervelli may come back healthy but his bat stinks. This is Cutch’s last year and that is the money Cervelli got for the last two years. Unload Cutch and JHay and use that in 2018 to pay Nova and another closer. By then the core of Tallion, Meadows, Bell, Glasnow, Polanco with Cole, Marte and hopefully an healthy and productive Kang is the makings of a very good team.

  4. It is a horrible contract, as it is money that could be spent in other places that are actually needed. Forget that he is one of the most fundamentally unsound player on the team….

  5. There are three issues I have with using the league average $/WAR to evaluate Harrison’s extension:

    1) Harrison only has 5 years of service time, so his 2017 should be compared to an Arb3 contract. Because teams can non-tender arb-eligible players whose projected production does not match their salary (e.g., Pedro), there is an inherent discount, which the most popular models put at 20% for the 3rd year of arbitration. So in actuality, Harrison needs to provide 25% more value (divide by 80%) in the first year to be worth it. This puts the breakeven WAR threshold higher.

    2) The conceit of an extension is the club receives production at below-market rates for the most expensive seasons. This excess value Harrison would provide between 2017 and 2018 – assuming there is any – is marginal. It is hard to argue the Pirates would not have been better served taking Harrison year by year. Should Harrison put together another 1.4-ish WAR season, with most of the value coming from fielding and baserunning, I find it hard to believe any team would sign him to a $10.5M contract, with or without the options.

    3) The Pirates do not pay market rate for wins, if they can at all avoid it. Neal Huntington has said as much, on multiple occasions (usually to defend a non-acquisition or allowing a free agent to walk). If anything, he has made his mark on baseball by UNDERPAYING for the type of underappreciated skills Harrison has. So while 2 years/$18.5M may be a fair deal for the market, it’s much less so for the Pirates.

  6. I tend to agree with Tim for the most part here. Harrison’s defense makes him worth it and if you just stick him down at 7 or 8 in the lineup and accept what he gives you there, he’s not going to hurt you. Maybe start Frazier once or twice a week but he’s a long way from being able to handle 2B every day in the field.

    Also, at the risk of sounding regressive, if you watch the Pirates every day there is something to be said for that little something extra Harrison brings. It’s not quantifiable and maybe it’s BS “intangibles,” but somebody has got to bring some life to the team. Now if he could just stop swinging at first pitch balls every at bat…

  7. Not a Frazier fan on defense. Funny but we become enamored of these players reading the write ups of them on this site, then we find out that most, if not all, are just utility players with little chance to start. The pirates seem to think of all of them that way. All position players need to be able to play at least five positions and pitchers must be able to relive and start. They are developing mediocrity in each player. Let them become proficient at one position before giving up on them. Take Hanson for example. He seems like a very good defensive second baseman, since he was named the best at his position by Baseball America. Now he has to play 3b, ss and outfield and by the way has no chance at all of playing 2b with the pirates, instead they want Frazier at that position because he can hit singles and can not field. This is a sham or at least a shame.

    • Joe, I am with you. I also believe that Frazier
      could be a much better fielder if he was able to
      focus on being the infielder that he has been
      through most of the minors.

    • “Funny but we become enamored of these players reading the write ups of them on this site, then we find out that most, if not all, are just utility players with little chance to start.”

      I am about sick of comments like this, not specifically from you, but from a wide number of people all around Pirates internet. We write realistic things about a player, and somehow the things we write are forgotten and replaced with values we never gave.

      Here were the writeups on Frazier from each Prospect Guide:

      2014 – “in the long term he doesn’t profile well as a starter, instead looking like a future utility player”

      “The big value with Frazier is that his bat, and his ability to play both middle infield positions, give him a higher probability of reaching the majors than most players who have only played in A-ball. His contact skills and advanced plate patience make him a safe option to continue hitting for average and getting on base. That package is what gives him such a good chance of reaching the majors.”

      2015 – “The Pirates gave him time at shortstop, and he displayed a lot of range at the position, although he doesn’t look like someone who can excel defensively. Instead, he looks like someone who can handle the position off the bench, but is better suited defensively for second base.”

      Note that this was before he actually played second base. I probably should have clarified that he might not be good enough defensively to be a starter, but that was pretty clear later in the write-up.

      “Frazier’s upside is a utility player in the majors, and while his 2014 season didn’t look great, he doesn’t have a ton of work to get to that level. He needs to show improvements on defense, especially at shortstop. He also needs to take his skills at the plate and have them translate over to the stat sheet.

      “That happened in 2013. He looked good in person at times during the 2014 season, but lacked consistency throughout the year.”

      “His ability to play the middle infield spots, potential for good contact, strong plate patience, and his speed combines to give him the potential to be a future utility player in the majors. He’s athletic enough that the Pirates could give him a shot at playing in the outfield going forward, in order to further increase his value off the bench.”

      2016 – “The patience that the Pirates showed with his offense paid off. He hit for average, had excellent plate patience, got on base at a high rate, and while he didn’t hit for a lot of power, he did have a few extra base hits. He provided some speed on the bases, and his ability as a super utility player really helped give him an opportunity that eventually led to every day playing time, with his primary position going back to shortstop by the end of the season.”

      “Frazier has a lot of speed, great plate patience, and can make solid contact with the ball, with a line drive stroke to all fields. He’s a singles hitter, and that probably won’t change much in the future. He can play shortstop, but doesn’t profile as a starter at the position, due to a lack of range and poor glove work. His ability to play center and left field, along with second and third base will give him a lot of value, and allow him to reach the majors as a super utility player, even without the power. His
      best positions would be second base and center field.”

      Since Frazier arrived, we’ve said he could be a utility player, citing his defense as a big reason for that. There should be no surprise that he ended up a utility player. We’ve been preparing you for that since his first year in the system. If there was any hype on Fraizer being more than that, it didn’t come from this site.

      And like I said, this rant isn’t just because of your comment on Fraizer. Yesterday I wrote that Casey Hughston will struggle because of strikeouts, giving details on why he’s unlikely for success in the upper levels, only to have that information thrown back at me as the reason we shouldn’t be so high on Hughston.

      I’ve given writeups on Chad Kuhl in the past where people have either said I’m too high on him for thinking he’ll be a starter at all, or too low on him for thinking his upside is only be a strong number four starter. The latter group does that based on my writeups where I say his upside would be a strong number four starter.

      I spent the entire summer getting killed for saying Tyler Glasnow wasn’t ready for the majors, and now that he’s come up and struggled, I’m starting to see comments doubting his upside, or that he can reach that.

      There’s something going on here where we give a report, and then people just completely miss the upside we give, and start hyping the player beyond that upside. Then, when they don’t reach that, we get blamed for being too high on the player. What is causing this? What site are you guys actually reading?

        • I honestly want to know what is happening here. Because I don’t know how to improve it from my side. I spent three and a half years saying repeatedly that Frazier would be a super utility player and had bad defense, and then it’s seen as a surprise that we didn’t discuss. It would be one thing if it was just one person, but there are a lot of cases like this from other people.

          • Tim….people are going to read into whatever is being written with their own agenda and biases.

            You’re not the only Internet writer out there that has their words twisted or misinterpreted. That is why writers like Keith Law and others quit responding to their comments. Most people get it. (I get it about 33.42% of the time).

            It’s the way of the world.

          • Don’t fret. No need to worry about improvement. Foo says it well below.

            You’ve got a good site. Keep up the good work.

          • If there’s one systemic thing that could be pointed to, I think it could be argued that there’s a bit of a disconnect between the physical reports you guys give and your, admittedly, optimistic overall view of prospects and the Pirates in general.

            When a prospect doesn’t reach that optimistic outlook, or the club struggles in general, it breeds disappointment with some.

            This is just your style. Don’t change. But I think it’s something that’ll always follow you as long as you do take admittedly optimistic perspectives. This is baseball, failure is all around us. Nothing wrong with being optimistic, I like that, but you’re gonna be wrong more often than not and that comes off as a disappointment to some who buy into it.

            • I think you’re referring to two things here, to be clear.

              Number one would be my optimistic view of the Pirates in general. That’s definitely true, but I think that’s warranted. They haven’t been perfect, but the Pirates have done some really good things, and should be seen in an optimistic light.

              As for the prospects, I think it’s impossible to cover prospects and come away as anything other than optimistic. You’re looking at players and saying something will appear that isn’t already there. There are cases where you can be too optimistic, like saying a 30% strikeout guy will one day be a 20% strikeout guy. But in most cases, just giving a realistic upside won’t come across as realistic, but optimistic.

              And in the case of prospects, you’re probably going to be right more often than not with a pessimistic view (prospect won’t make it, or at the very most will be a bench/bullpen player). It’s impossible to avoid being wrong when evaluating prospects in any direction.

              I think Pirates fans tend to trend pessimistic about a lot of stuff, so optimism doesn’t get received well. The history of this team leads to that, but I think there’s something about the city as well, where the top columnists and radio hosts for years have been overly negative about everything.

              But what I’m talking about doesn’t really have anything to do with optimism. What I’m talking about is us giving a report on a player, and then the player reaching that upside we predicted, only to have people say we were predicting something greater. Frazier is a perfect example of this. But like I said, there have been a few times where I’ve posted reports on Kuhl, and the comment section has been talking him up as a number three or higher, even though it says number four upside in the article. And that wouldn’t be a problem, but those comments then get applied to our view, where we are suddenly calling Kuhl a number three or higher, even though it’s clearly in the article that his upside is a number four.

              • “And in the case of prospects, you’re probably going to be right more often than not with a pessimistic view (prospect won’t make it, or at the very most will be a bench/bullpen player). ”

                See, that’s the thing. Is it really “pessimistic” if it’s the most probable outcome?

                And I’ll say it again, the disconnect might be in your own writing for some. Remember the arguments here this summer about Kuhl being the “next Kevin Brown” and guys posting quotes from your own writeup as their support? Perfect example. Or how you call just about every Latin American kid and tall RH HS pitcher these guys sign “high upside”? It can wear on people, and narratives get built around that.

                I could care less, but you seem to, and if you want to understand why then I’m simply offering up a reason I’ve heard and seen myself. Doesn’t make either side “right”. Either accept it or ignore it.

                • I don’t like optimistic or pessimistic. I like realistic. I don’t think it should be viewed as pessimistic to think that every prospect has a chance to bust. At the same time, I don’t think it should be viewed as optimistic to think a prospect does have a chance to improve and go on to reach a certain upside.

                  As for the Kuhl stuff, that’s what I was talking about. Those articles said he’d be a number four starter, and then I kept seeing comments about Kevin Brown, number three or higher, etc. All the while, I’m predicting a lower upside, and telling the Kevin Brown predictors why they’re probably wrong. But then I’d see comments elsewhere saying we were too high on Kuhl, and they’d reflect what was being talked about in the comments, and not what was talked about in the articles. And that’s clearly a problem, as we’ve seen in this thread alone with the talk about high expectations for Frazier and Moroff, when they’ve both pretty much reached their expected upside.

                  • great stuff and great info as usual. I am one of the fans that say Kuhl = Kevin Brown 2.0 but for the record, I’ve never gotten than impression from any article I’ve read.
                    I just like to be very optimistic, I think it’s more fun living life that way. I like reading that Frazier has an upside of utility player but I say screw that, he’s the next Craig Biggio damn it!!! Kuhl a #4…yea right, maybe a #4 behind Maddox, Clemens and Randy Johnson. Shoot for the moon, if you miss you’re still in the stars

          • It isn’t your writing, it is the perception we have. Each super utility write-up makes me think of Josh Harrison’s breakout year, and not so much the player he is.

          • I read the reports and dream on the upside. With every prospect or player brought in we as fans see the good tools and expect something to click with a small adjustment to improve the rest.

  8. “His defense, and his base running to a smaller degree, drive his value. That’s what allows him to put up the overall results that make him worth his contract, even if there’s not a lot of excess value.”

    Except that good General Managers can find this in a 2B without paying $18.5m over two years. Look at it this way, how many folks would be lauding a 2 yr/$18.5m contract right now if Harrison were a free agent? Hands? Is that really what this organization needs?

    I don’t really think they have a choice, Tim’s right that they must prioritize run prevention and they seem unwilling to let Alen Hanson try his hand at the defense/baserunning thing. They’ve made their bed with Harrison by signing that unnecessary extension, and now it’s time to sleep. Let’s hope for a big BABIP year to bring his offense back to league average.

    • What exactly is the market rate for a guy like Harrison?

      Chase Utley is older, but he’s pretty much the same player Harrison is now (poor offense, good defense) and he got $7 M on a one year deal. He probably gets a longer deal and a bit more money if he’s Harrison’s age.

      The guys that make a lot less than Harrison see a big drop off in offense. It’s not like Harrison has no offense. He’s got enough to be a starter, and the guys who would sign for less to provide strong defense are the guys who see their offense significantly taking away from their defensive value.

      • Tim, could you see a scenario next year with Harrison getting the majority of the starts and Frazier getting 1-2 starts a week at 2B and if Frazier’s hitting continues well, that eventually Frazier gets the majority of the starts with Harrison eventually relegated to becoming a late inning defensive replacement.

        • I went over this in the article. Frazier could provide better offense, but Harrison provides the same value with better defense. And the Pirates need defense more than offense. So I think it would be a mistake to go that route.

          • Tim: Thanks for posting this on a Saturday when Alabama and Penn State are back to back on TV. It was a bad contract from day one and we are stuck with it. $18.5 mil for a guy with little if any power who Strikes Out 4 times for every Walk with an OPS of less than .700. In the last 2 years he has 1,000+ PA’s with 37 Walks/147 Strikeouts.

            We need a leadoff hitter who can field. Alen Hanson is a switchhitting leadoff hitter, gets on base enough to steal 35 bases a year, and keeps piling up awards as the Best Defensive 2B in the International League. He will only make the league minimum at a time when we supposedly need financial flexibility. Maybe FC/NH need to re-think where this team is heading.

      • “What exactly is the market rate for a guy like Harrison?”

        I think this is a good, and tricky, question. I’m sure his agent would be looking at Forsythe 2/$18.8m, Cabrera 2/$18.5, and Kendrick 2/$20m as recent comps, but all three of those guys were coming off better years and I genuinely don’t have a feel for how Harrison is perceived around the league. That fluke year has been forgotten, and he’s settled into a good utility player. That might be the better angle to market him. There aren’t many recent comps for below average veteran Free Agent starting second basemen.

        My question, though, asks whether or not *the Pirates* should be signing a player like him to the contract he has remaining, and I’m struggling to see how they’d justify that from a value perspective.

        On an adequately funded club this would be a non-issue, but these are the unfortunate constraints Huntington is under. Spending 20% of the payroll on Harrison, Freese, and Jaso while major holes in the rotation and bullpen remain seems to be a fairly poor use of resources. It’s not fair, but whomever is the General Manager of a team like the Pirates simply has to do better than that.

        • On the flip side of this, the offense had their fair share of struggles this year, along with injuries. And they still finished with a pretty good offense. I think that has to do with the depth.

          Meanwhile, the pitching didn’t have enough depth to overcome struggles and injuries. If you take away from this depth and add to the pitching, you might solve that problem. But then the offense might not overcome their injuries and struggles.

          Again, a problem a small market team faces, where you can’t add depth everywhere, so you have to hope for the best in the area where you’re short.

          • Couldn’t agree more, which on another tangent is why I’m hesitant to trade Cutch for pitching in particular. Glad it’s not my job, no easy answer here.

            I’m optimistic that that young arms that’ve matriculated over the last year will be enough pitching depth to avoid the awful, plugging up replacement-level or worse holes, and that they target a high beta arm for the rotation that could provide the additional value they desperately need there.

            Maybe that’s not a high-probability strategy, but I think it’s the reality they’re stuck with in this system. And it’s worked before.

      • Pirates fans are hard to figure out. First, they complain about only signing players for team friendly deals. When they sign one for a market value deal, they complain that there is no excess value in it. Very contrarian.

      • Such a large portion of that production was based on placement that I doubt you ever see him come close again. I’ve laid out all the exact numbers in other posts along the way, but in ’14 he had something like six homeruns and a dozen doubles within 30′ of the left field line; essentially batted balls that would either be outs or lesser events if they were hit almost anywhere else in the park.

        I don’t see a ton of evidence he hit the ball harder or farther in ’14, just that he placed them extremely well.

        • I “seem” to remember a lot more gap shots one hopping the wall, but some of that could have been because he was hitting more down the lines too. it seems to me (and its just an eye thing i could be wrong) that he hasn’t been spraying as much the last 2 years, and they seem to be crowding the middle of the field on him more. Maybe its just better outfield positioning too, i’m not sure

  9. I am not a fan of JHay’s. I’d like to see Frazier play there regularly and see if he can at least be an average 2bman on defense.

    And with all of his base running flubs, how in Heaven’s name did JHay finish so high in base running? Don’t they penalize them for ‘flubs’?

    And finally, he is minus 33 for his showboating.

    • As someone who has already seen him in the minors, I’m telling you that he can’t be an average defender.

      As for the “flubs”, base running value is tricky. When a guy makes an error, you remember. When he goes from first to third or scores from second on a single when most would only get the one bag, you don’t even notice.

      • As someone who has already seen him in the minors, I’m telling you that he can’t be an average defender.

        Crap…there goes THAT theory. 🙁

        I guess we’re stuck with Mr Showboat.

        • Disagree – not with calling him Mr. Showboat, but that we are stuck with him. This team needs a positional house cleaning. Our Rotation has been almost completely changed since the end of the 2015 season – only Cole remains.

          We need to say goodbye to JHay, Jaso, Srod, and Stewart. Sofield and Leyva are gone and hopefully Branson and Livesey will follow. Will that be enough of a message for CH? His contract ends after 2017.

        • The biggest problem with Harrison I think is the decrease in power the last two years. The power has decreased but without a benefit to his average or obp. If he just could go back somewhere near the pop he showed in 2013-14 or walk 15-20 more times a year I don’t think anyone would be complaining about his value.

          • Thats true…….but is it a drop or just a one year increase that was a career year. I thought it was “him” but obviously its not.

    • Frazier does not seem to be an average defender anywhere. J Hay could have much more value (walks) if he would just lay off swinging at so many bad pitches. To your point though, he’s just not a very disciplined ball player.

    • being an aggressive base runner- taking 10 bags and screwing up and getting you out twice leaves you plus 8. Lock at Cutch- timid on the bases hence negative value even though he never gets thrown out, he’s looking more and more like a pitcheer on the bases. Harrison brings energy and agressiveness- I wouldn’t trade it for Frazier- ever.

  10. It seems NHs draftees are not panning out one by one. Really starting to doubt the Pirates Drafts since NH took over.

    Cole/ Number 1 overall pick/ not looking like a top tier starter as in you could match him up in a Wildcard game against an elite starter
    Alvarez/Sanchez: busts as top 5 picks
    Hansen/Moroff/Frazier: Utility Bench Players
    Bell/ very good hitter with no position to play.
    Taillon: Good but probably not elite pitcher as a overall number 2 draft pick.
    McGuire slipped down to someone they could give away.
    Tucker/Newman/Meadows: we’ll see.

    I know drafting is not a science, a lot of these guys don’t pan out, but I’m waiting for that impact player from the top rated farm system.

    It seems that other clubs (Astros,Cubs,Phillies) are seeing impact players coming even though they started to rebuild week after we did.

    The recent success over the last 4 years seems to have built on drafts from prior GMs ( Cutch/Walker)

    • Do yourself a favor and look and see how many impact players that there are in the draft each year and then calculate the odds of getting one, no matter where you draft.

      And, who are these ‘impact players’ that the Phillies have coming? My Phil Phan Phriends would love to know.

      • Bryant, Rizzo, Hendricks and Baez certainly are looking like quite a few for the Cub system. I know Rizzo and Hendricks didn’t come through the draft, but it definitely looks like the Cubs are much better in evaluating talent. I thought in the limited sample that the Phillies pitching staff looked pretty good against the Pirates this year. Meanwhile our pitching staff was 100% turned over this year, making it look as if we are now behind the Phillies.

        I just seems that there is a major flaw in almost every prospect. When a big prospect (Moroff) has an upside of backup infielder it does not sound good.

        • Oh, so it’s just the Cubs now? 🙂

          Moroff has NEVER been a big prospect. Tim has always said his upside is as a Util guy. I’m not sure where you got that he was a BIG prospect.

          As for Bryant, the Astros passed on him. I say that, because you mentioned the Astros in your first post as having some impact players coming up.

          Nobody saw Hendricks being what he is. He was nothing more than a #5 pitcher prior to this year. And Cole (last year) and JT (next year?) have just as much, if not more, potential.

          Baez is still more of a utility IFer than a regular IF’er. His OPS was .737. He doesn’t walk (15) and K’d 108 times in 421 ABs. By comparison OUR util IF’er Sean Rod had an .859 OPS.

          So you have ONE team, the Cubs, with all of these “impact” players coming through. And, when you look at it, I see only one….Bryant.

          • Have the Cubs developed any pitchers? I don’t think so. Could it be that the impact youngsters brought up in the Cubs system benefited from several free agents they were able to purchase? Their starting SS was a trade piece.Bryant and Conteras (the catcher) were home grown.

    • Cole was among the best pitchers in baseball pre-2016. His value shouldn’t be based on one Wild Card start and one season with injuries.

      There’s a massive difference between Alvarez and Sanchez. Sanchez was a bust. Alvarez made it to the majors, and put up a few 2+ WAR seasons with the Pirates. Not the best outcome, but far from a bust.

      Hanson wasn’t a draft pick. Moroff was a 16th rounder and Frazier was a 6th rounder out of college. If you’re expecting more than utility players (and there’s nothing wrong with utility players) from those rounds, then the expectations are too high.

      I think you’re downplaying Bell and Taillon. Putting too much emphasis on “no position to play” and not enough on “very good hitter” with Bell. In Taillon’s case, his draft position is irrelevant now. What kind of pitcher will he be? I think he’ll be a top of the rotation guy, and he’s off to a good start.

      Also, the success the last four years was more than just Cutch/Walker. If that was the case, they would have been successful from 2010-12 as well.

      • Tim, I know this is a little off topic, but I think Pedro put up
        some pretty good numbers at Baltimore this year, but
        from what I read, they are not interested in him returning.
        Any guess where he might end up in the American League?

        • His offense wasn’t far off his 2015 totals. There were some improvements, but not significant. The biggest thing was he didn’t have to play in the field that much. So I have no clue where he’d end up, since he’s pretty limited to being a DH.

          • Tim…I thought FOR SURE you were going to say something like the Pirates MIGHT be interested in a reunion IF the NL brings in the DH. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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