FanPost

Meet the New Red! - Willie Harris

Born: 6/22/1978

College: Kennesaw State, GA

Debut: 9/2/2001

HT/WT: 5'9"/195

Bats/Throws: L/R

At a Glance:

Drafted in the 24th round of the amateur draft in 1999, it seems the Orioles finally decided it was late enough to draft a guy who had too many coincidental ties to baseball not to end up with a decent career. Born in Cairo, GA, he also played at Cairo HS and lives there in the offseason, none of which has anything to do with his new organizational teammate, but is coincidence number one. He played college ball at Kennesaw State, and what with Kenesaw Mountain Landis being MLB's first ever commissioner is coincidence number two. And with a listed height and weight of 5'9", 195, he is an exact 1-to-1 physical replacement of the outfielder the Reds traded away this offseason in Dave Sappelt. Tell me that's just a coincidence...

Debuting in 2001 with the Orioles, Harris didn't manage to get semi-regular playing time until 2004 with the White Sox. He demonstrated a useful ability to get on base and play multiple positions adequately. After two forgettable years as a spare part, he hit his prime in the 2007-2009 seasons. He was a league average hitter those years who showed he could play 2B, 3B, all three OF positions, and even a little SS.

Despite a woeful lack of power, Harris manages to make the most of the skills he does have by getting on base at a decent rate. With an OBP often 70-100+ points better than his AVG, he knows how to take a walk, and with some BABIP luck can turn that skill into league average-ish offensive performance. Once on base, he has historically been a good baserunner if not a great base stealer. He has 106 career stolen bases - not bad for a part-time guy.

What He Means to the Reds:

He's a good target for a team that wants to use him as a utility player, pinch hitter/runner, and injury depth. He's a veteran who has spent the majority of his career in a backup/utility role so he knows how to prepare for that. The Reds signed him on a minor-league deal, so he doesn't block anyone and doesn't cost a lot, and only takes a roster spot in case of injury or unexpected ineffectiveness.

If he makes the big club, he will earn the pro-rated portion of $800,000, with $50,000 incentives for 200, 300, and 350 plate appearances, so his max cost is under $1 million even if he makes the club out of Spring Training. He's on the downside of his career now at age 34, so league average in part-time play is the ceiling of his performance. Then again, no one saw Miguel Cairo coming at ages 36-37 and playing far better than ever, so...

What do the Stats Say?

Year Age Tm G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS+
2001 23 BAL 9 25 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 .125 .125 .167 -22
2002 24 CHW 49 177 14 38 4 0 2 12 8 0 9 21 .233 .270 .294 50
2003 25 CHW 79 150 19 28 3 1 0 5 12 2 10 28 .204 .259 .241 33
2004 26 CHW 129 471 68 107 15 2 2 27 19 7 51 79 .262 .343 .323 74
2005 27 CHW 56 139 17 31 2 1 1 8 10 3 13 25 .256 .333 .314 72
2006 28 BOS 47 52 17 7 2 0 0 1 6 3 4 11 .156 .250 .200 17
2007 29 ATL 117 391 56 93 20 8 2 32 17 11 40 71 .270 .349 .392 94
2008 30 WSN 140 424 58 92 14 4 13 43 13 3 50 66 .251 .344 .417 100
2009 31 WSN 137 393 47 76 18 6 7 27 11 4 57 62 .235 .364 .393 101
2010 32 WSN 132 262 25 41 6 2 10 32 5 2 33 60 .183 .291 .362 76
2011 33 NYM 126 283 36 59 11 0 2 23 5 4 36 62 .246 .351 .317 88
11 Seasons 1021 2767 360 575 96 24 39 210 106 39 303 492 .240 .330 .349 80

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/10/2012.

Projections:

Projection Games PA H 1B 2B 3B
HR R RBI SB AVG
Bill James 88 157 31 21 6 1 3 20 12 3 .226
Rotochamp
292 58 42 10 1 5 32 26 6 .232
Fans 60 225 47 38 5 1 3 25 23 4 .240
Marcel
315



7 40 33 7 .229
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