Pittsburgh Pirates: Lets Build A Lineup

Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /
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Pittsburgh Pirates Josh Harrison
Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports /

In terms of being the Pirates sixth best hitter, Josh Harrison does not fit that.  He’s projected only a .310 wOBA, but the reason he is batting sixth will come next slide.  Harrison, of the four remaining players, is projected the most power, .403 slugging, and .124 ISO.  His biggest fault is he doesn’t get on base, career walk rate of 3.5 percent and projected 4.3 percent.  But at the same time, Harrison doesn’t strike out, only 14.3 percent for his career and a projected 15.4 percent.

Harrison does swing at a large amount of pitches out of the zone, 38.3, 38.4, and 37.1 percent the last three years.  At the same time, however, Harrison makes lots of contact with pitches outside the zone, 71.7, 72.6, and 77.9 percent since 2014.  This is Harrison’s biggest fall, as he ranks 227th of the 287 batters in average exit velocity on pitches outside the zone (minimum 50 abs).

Harrison lacks plate discipline, which is part of the reason each year his bat has regressed.  He’s gone from a .365 wOBA and 137 wRC+ in 2014, to .313 and 100 in 2015, to .301 and 87 in  2016. It has been a constant decline, and his swing percentage has increased each year, 52.2 percent, 54.2, and 54.3.

But his drop power is also concerning.  Going from a .159 ISO (95 PA) in 2013 and a .175 ISO in 2014, Harrison has produced an ISO of .103 and .105.  But given his advantage in slugging compared to Jordy Mercer, despite Mercer’s higher on-base skills, Harrison fits here at six.