Pittsburgh Pirates: All-Time Non-Top 100 Prospect Team
By Noah Wright
Second Base - Josh Harrison
Josh Harrison was a 6th round pick by the Chicago Cubs in 2008 and was acquired by the Pirates at the 2008 trade deadline in exchange for Tom Gorzelanny and John Grabow. Harrison was mostly a contact-oriented speedy utility man. Despite never appearing on any top 100 lists, he batted at least .305 or better from 2008 until he graduated rookie status in mid-2011. However, he never drew many walks, nor did he hit for much power, which is the likely cause for his exclusion from any top 100 notoriety.
Harrison’s first few years in the big leagues didn’t go very well. He mostly served as an up-and-down utility man who batted .250/.280/.367 with a .283 wOBA, and 78 wRC+. He did have a 12.3% walk rate and provided average to above average defense at multiple positions, both in the infield and outfield, but with almost no power and a walk rate of just 2.6%, there wasn’t much expectations going into 2014.
However, Harrison didn’t just excel expectations; he obliterated them. In 550 plate appearances, Harrison batted .315/.347/.490 with a .365 wOBA, and 137 wRC+. Harrison hit for above average power, crushing 13 dingers with a .175 isolated slugging percentage. His 4% walk rate was still nothing to be proud of, but he still had a fantastic 14.7% strikeout rate. Harrison played nearly every position, aside from catcher, first base, and center field.
While Harrison didn’t repeat these numbers, he still posted a respectable .280/.326/.404 triple-slash, .316 wOBA, and 98 wRC+. But his defense both at the hot corner and the keystone were outstanding. At second base, Harrison racked up +17 DRS and +8 outs above average (OAA didn’t become an official statistic until 2016). Meanwhile at third base, he had +3 DRS and +2 OAA.
Harrison missed a good portion of 2018, and then was bought out at the end of his contract. Since then, the utility man has bounced all around baseball, playing with the Detroit Tigers, Washington Nationals, Oakland Athletics, Chicago White Sox, and now Philadelphia Phillies. Across his last five seasons, Harrison is only batting .256/.316/.370 with a .302 wOBA, and 90 wRC+. Though his defense at second base and third base have still remained average to above average.