Travis Harrison (John Sickels, SB Nation)
Prospect Notes: Travis Harrison, Adam Brett Walker
Here are some additional observations from my trip to Quad Cities last week, featuring Minnesota Twins prospects and current Cedar Rapids Kernels Travis Harrison and Adam Brett Walker. Additional notes on Jorge Polanco and Niko Goodrum will be posted later today, then a final look at the Kernels roster tomorrow.
Travis Harrison, 3B: Harrison was a supplemental first round pick in 2011 from high school in Tustin, California. He was considered one of the better bats in the high school draft class, but questions about his glovework kept him out of the first round. He has the look and build of a classic right-handed power hitter at 6-1, 215.
He didn't have a great game last week, going 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts. He drew a walk in his first at-bat, but after that the Quad Cities pitchers gave him a steady diet of sliders and other pitches off the plate. Harrison had problems dealing with this and was visibly frustrated in his last two at-bats.
He's got very good bat speed but seemed very pull-oriented in this game and it worked against him. His overall line of .272/.331/.496 with nine walks and 35 strikeouts in 125 at-bats thus far dovetails nicely with what I saw in person: he's got power, but plate discipline issues are apparent.
I paid close attention to his third base defense during pre-game infield drills and during the game itself and he looked potentially adequate. His arm is average but workable for the position as long as his throws are accurate. His range looked pretty decent for a bigger guy, though it was better to his left than to his right. His defensive statistics aren't very good at this point, with a sub-.900 fielding percentage and mediocre range numbers, but I can understand why the Twins are leaving him at third base for now. He'll probably wind up at first base in the long run, but he's not a lost cause just yet.
Adam Brett Walker, OF: Third round pick last June from Jacksonville University, although he originally hails from Wisconsin and is the son of a former Minnesota Vikings football player. Walker is a 6-4, 225 pound right-handed hitter and looks every bit the part: strong, muscular. He stole a ton of bases in college (40 in 41 attempts over three seasons) and is 7-for-7 as a pro, but his pure running speed is actually just average and he's rather slow out of the box. He's a train once he gets going though and he's apparently an adept stealer when he chooses to run.
Walker put a charge in the ball during batting practice but went 0-for-4 with a strikeout in the game. He has an upper-cut power swing and is obviously very strong. The Quad Cities pitchers seemed afraid of giving him anything to hit and, as they did with Harrison, they gave him a steady diet of sliders and pitches off the plate which he wasn't able to do much with.
Overall, he's hitting .309/.356/.655 with 10 homers, eight walks, and 35 strikeouts in 139 at-bats. As with Harrison, the numbers are in accord with what I saw visually: he's got plenty of power and is obviously a dangerous hitter, but it remains to be seen how his ability to handle breaking pitches and control the strike zone will play at higher levels.