Rays Top 50 Prospects includes a tremendous number of high-quality prospects. We at RCG are bringing you an in-depth look at those we consider to be the Top 50.
While gathering as much information as possible from various sources, we’re going to put it all together for your enjoyment and raise the bar on what you expect from a prospect knowledgable site. Stay tuned, check-in often, and please let us know how we’re doing.
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Being such a lengthy process, some encouragement will go a very long way. We hope you’ll enjoy reading this series as much as we enjoy putting it together. If anything, all of us will know that much more about the quality of the Rays system.
The rankings will be based on all aspects of each prospect, but will focus first on how likely the player is to make an impact in MLB, and ceiling next. Mike Mahtook and Enny Romero have been graduated to the majors and will not be included in these rankings.
Once completed, the Top 50 will be updated mid-season with an explanation to why they’re moving up or down, and the entire process will be repeated each season.
The next player to be examined in detail is …
#22: Greg Harris, RHP, 21 years old
- Bats: Right Ht/Wt: 6’2″ 170 lbs
- Drafted: by the Dodgers in the 17th round of the 2013 draft
- Signed: for $175,000
- Acquired: along with Jose Dominguez from LAD for Joel Peralta and Adam Liberatore
- 2015 Affiliate: Bowling Green/Charlotte Rays
- Anticipated MLB Arrival: 2018+
Smith’s Fielding Stats
Smith’s 2015 Splits
- His dad threw in MLB – with both arms one game – for 15 years, totalling a 3.69 ERA and 1.35 whip
- Had committed to the University of Oregon before signing with Dodgers
- Only allowed more than 2 ER five times in 2015
- Stuck out 6 or more batters 8 times in 2015
- Noted for having a clean delivery
Once acquired by the Rays, Matt Silverman had this to say after thanking Peralta for his work in Tampa:
"“We also welcome Jose Dominguez and Greg Harris to the Rays. They’re intriguing pitchers—a reliever with electric stuff and a young starting pitching prospect—and we look forward to their contributions in the years to come.”"
Minor League Ball’s Nick Melotte believes in Harris as possibly best part of the deal:
"“Harris has the potential to be the steal in this deal as a teenager who just completed his first go-round at Low A.”"
Best Tools & Abilities
- Well-Controlled Low 90s Fastball, touches 95 MPH
- Effective Change Up, used anytime
- Makeup and Confidence
Harris immediately showed the Rays he could more than handle the LoA level handily as he amassed some impressive totals at the level. From his lowest HR/9 yet of 0.11 despite being described as a flyable pitcher, to his 3.0 K/BB ratio and 2.65 FIP, Harris proved he had learned what he needed to learn at the LoA level. After a great start in the 2015 season, Harris stated:
"“I didn’t make any changes. I kept everything the same and trusted in my stuff,”"
The promotion note on Milb.com noted that he finished the LoA level with the following accomplishments over his last 4 stats:
"“4-0 with a microscopic 0.77 ERA over 23.1 innings of work since the All-Star break”"
I’ll add that this was accomplished with only 17 HA, 4 BB, and 29 Ks. A great end to his LoA career.
And so came his time in HiA, with the Rays continuing the pace the Dodgers has set for the youngster who always seems a fair bit younger than the rest of the talent at his level.
When he got to HiA, Harris was a full 3 years younger than the average HiA player. Yet, he held his own and managed to show us enough to hope for a dominant performance in 2016. There were bumps in the road as he adjusted to HiA, but let’s remember that not only was Harris facing older and wiser competition at this point, he was also in uncharted territory in terms of IP, surpassing his own highest total with every new IP.
He kicked off his HiA career with a 6 inning win, allowing only 3 hits and 1 BB while striking out 4. Best of all during the start was his ability to induce ground outs to get out of a baseball loaded and no outs jam. After the start, his Manager Michael Johns stated:
"“He pitched with confidence, he pitched like he should be here. It was good. A really good outing,” Johns said of Harris. “This is going to propel us.”"
In 2 of the last 3 starts made by Harris in HiA, he accomplished the following:
- 7 IP / 5 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 2 K
- 6 IP / 3 H / 0 ER / 1 BB / 4 K
To finish the season on such a promising note allows us to expect he had made the adjustments he needed to make successfully and provides us with high expectations in 2016.
There are pitchers we have ranked behind Harris that throw harder, have wilder stuff, and can be envisioned as power-pitchers in MLB. But Harris was ranked ahead of them for good reason. What he has between the ears, his makeup and composure, and his overall control, allow him to out-pitch most others in the system at the same age.
There’s no doubt that he’ll have to work on his approach vs RHB in HiA in 2016 and improve that part of his game in order to make the leap to AA. However, judging from his ability to overcome such obstacles in the past, we have confidence that Harris will make it happen.
He may never become a strikeout an inning guy or a top of the rotation starter, but the control Harris has and his ability to use his change-up effectively in any count gives him a higher floor than most other prospects in the Rays system.
If Harris was able to add another plus offering to his repertoire, he could heighten his ceiling. So long as he keeps working hard to sharpen all of his tools, we see his floor being a workhorse back-end starter, with the potential of becoming a #3 starter when he is fully matured.
It’s always great to see the Rays get value out of their deals and I tend to agree with the thought that in this case, the Rays may wind up getting a gem in Harris once his development is complete. He takes on all challenges with poise and confidence and has the baseball acumen to make the right decisions at the right moments.
Sometimes, having grown up around the game can give a player an edge in how overwhelmed – or not – they get when promoted from level to level. It seems to apply to Harris as he has been unshaken after each promotion and looks set to earn a shot at AA before 2016 is complete if he continues on his current path. We wish him all of the best next season and hope he justifies our aggressive ranking.