For the fourth straight year, we’re taking some time in that time between the end of the season and the winter meetings to discuss each player that made an appearance on the St. Louis roster this season. Whether they played almost every day or never actually got into a game, they get covered in this series. All stats are exclusively their time in St. Louis. Just think of this as them stopping by Mike Matheny‘s office for a quick evaluation before heading home for the winter.
Player: Mitch Harris
Season stats: 2-1, 3.67 ERA, 26 games, 27 IP, 30 H, 4 HR, 13 BB, 15 K, 1.593 WHIP, 5.39 FIP, 0.0 bWAR
Hero/Goat: Hero 1, Goat 1
Overall grade: C
Positives: You may have heard, but he became the first Naval Academy grad to make the big leagues in about 100 years (truly, it’s a great story)….went eight appearances into his major league career before he was charged with a run….had a 2.59 ERA on September 7 before a couple of rough outings blew that number up….rode the Memphis shuttle this year but did tolerably well in AAA as well, posting a 3.38 ERA in 26.2 innings on down the old Mississip….recorded four saves (in five chances) for the Redbirds….was good at getting the first out, as hitters hit just .121 in that situation against him.
Negatives: 0.0 WAR is basically the definition of replacement player….when more than a runner and a half are reaching base against you each inning, things are going to eventually come crashing down….right-handers hit .300/.355/.486 against him….struggled at home, allowing a .309 BAA there versus .245 on the road, though he got both of his wins in Busch Stadium….batters hit .333 on his first pitch….had trouble when he had gotten that first out, as batters hit .351 with one down and .342 with two down.
Overview: You can not give enough kudos to Harris. Drafted in 2008 and required to keep his military obligations before starting on the minor league path, Harris stuck with it and finally made it to the top of the mountain in 2015. Did he get a boost because of his story? I wouldn’t be surprised. Yet, as we talked about with Nick Greenwood, you’ve got to make the most of whatever opportunity that you get and Harris tended to do that. He may not have been dominant, but more often than not he got the job done. Harris isn’t going to come to Jupiter next year with a guaranteed job or anything and odds are 2016 will be rougher on him than 2015 was, but he’s earned another shot at the mountain and in his case, that’s about all you can ask for.
Outlook: It’s probably small sample size, but Harris was significantly better against left-handers than right-handers this year. He struck out more of them in fewer plate appearances (though he did walk more as well) and didn’t allow a single extra-base hit to a southpaw. Could he perhaps be developed into the LOOGY the club isn’t going to have next year with Randy Choate gone and folks like Tyler Lyons expected to go more than one batter? That might be the best way for Harris to stay in the bigs. Otherwise, those hits and walks are going to likely crash down on him next season and make 2015 his only moment in the sun.