Monte Harrison might have felt the weight of being a key part of Miami's return for Christian Yelich. Or perhaps it was just a rude introduction to life at Double-A.Whatever the cause, the top Marlins prospect was hitting .215 on April 28 and had struck out six times in an
Monte Harrison might have felt the weight of being a key part of Miami's return for Christian Yelich. Or perhaps it was just a rude introduction to life at Double-A.
Whatever the cause, the top Marlins prospect was hitting .215 on April 28 and had struck out six times in an eight-at-bat span.
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Just a week later, that looks like it may have been the turning point of his season.
The former prep football star went 3-for-5 with a homer, double and three runs scored on Sunday in Double-A Jacksonville's 6-5 loss to Biloxi at MGM Park. He's hitting .366 (15-for-41) with two of his three homers over the past seven games to raise his average 51 points to .266.
"The confidence is growing, No. 1, and I think he's seeing the ball real well," Jacksonville manager Randy Ready said. "At certain times, his swing is shorter. There's been a better two-strike approach, he's more methodical, he's really turned it up a notch. He's made an an effort to be a tough out."
Harrison always has been seen as a superior talent, and the Brewers gave him a $1.8 million bonus as the 50th overall pick in the 2014 Draft to pass on a commitment to Nebraska, which recruited him as a wide receiver. But his inability to stay on the field -- the most games he played in a season prior to 2017 was 75 -- deprived him of much-needed repetitions as he concentrated solely on the diamond.
"The season is young and he's new to this level, so time will tell," Ready said, "but there is no experience like being between the lines."
Harrison offered a taste of his potential during a breakout 2017 campaign at Class A Wisconsin and Class A Advanced Carolina, where he totaled 21 homers and 27 stolen bases in 122 games.
After he struck out in the first inning Sunday, Harrison singled in the third, homered to the opposite field in the fifth and hit a hard grounder down the third base line for a double in the seventh. Chasing the cycle in the eighth, Harrison fanned. The strikeouts remain a red flag for the 22-year-old, who's fanned 48 times while drawing 10 walks in 109 at-bats.
Harrison was one of four prospects acquired from the Brewers for Yelich, along with center fielder Lewis Brinson, infielder Isan Díaz and right-hander Jordan Yamamoto. Yelich is one of the Majors' top young players, so Ready said he would not be surprised if Harrison was pressing at the start of the season.
"That's only natural for all the players we acquired," the former big league infielder said. "The organization traded some really good players this offseason and we acquired some really nice players, so it's only natural they would all feel some pressure. That just comes from within."
For Biloxi, Dylan Moore fell a single shy of the cycle, Major League veteran Nick Franklin also went yard and Brewers No. 3 prospectLucas Erceg homered for the second time in three games to back 19th-ranked Kodi Medeiros (3-1), who allowed four runs -- one earned -- on four hits over five innings.
Rehabbing Brewers closer Corey Knebel hurled a scoreless inning, striking out two, for the Shuckers. Nate Griep worked around a pair of walks in a hitless ninth to secure his Minor League-leading 11th save.
Vince Lara-Cinisomo is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @vincelara.