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Que the Guns N' Roses

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One argument I failed to mention yesterday in my defensive piece is the question the organization must ask itself entering this off-season; is Brendan Harris legit? Through 359 at-bats the 26 year old is hitting .304/362/.443, and is just about to enter his prime, as theorized through Bill James endless research, and the Rays' own Chaim Bloom even had an article on the topic for Baseball Prospectus here. The studies find that the average players tops off around 27, Harris will be so next year, that alone isn't enough for us to conclude he's not going to be good, since obviously it's projected to be the last year of improvement, but sometimes there are warning signs in a player like Harris' past and present that leads you to the conclusion that perhaps he's a freakish long fluke.

Before this season Harris had a total of 110 at-bats, and factoring those in to this season his career averages are .281/.342/.420, all decreases over his current totals, although not to the point where we'd feel confident calling faux performance. Since 2003 in AAA Iowa Harris has had strikeout rates generally ranging from 14 to 20, with the notable 10 at-bat exception for Cincinnati last season, and walk rates slightly below 10% since last season in AAA New Orleans, remember that locale, the other telling factor when determining whether it's a slump, streak, or standard is line drive rates, Harris seemingly passes that test as well, although he does have a slightly higher LD% now than he did in New Orleans, 17 there, 23 here, the difference hardly translates to his BABIP which was actually higher in New Orleans, .361, then this season's .358. That BABIP is right up there with the likes of David Ortiz, Placido Poleanco, Derek Jeter, and teammates Carl Crawford and Delmon Young, last time I checked all of those guys, Delmon excused, have had decent runs of success, so he's not in Shane Spencer like company.

The statistical conclusion would be Brendan's just showing the talent he's always had, remember this is the same Harris who while in the Cubs' system was proclaimed by Baseball Prospectus as "[T]he next Albert Pujols," BP doesn't go around making that sort of proclamation yearly, but it's always possible someone just has a soft spot for guys who use Sweet Ol' Child of Mine as their ditty music.