Player: Monte Harrison
Drafted by: Milwaukee Brewers
DOB: 8/10/1995 (Age: 18)
Height/Weight: 6'4", 180 pounds
School: Lee's Summit West (Missouri) HS
College Commitment: Nebraska
In a draft that is light on bats, at least ones that performed above expectations during the spring, Monte Harrison stands out as an exciting talent who brings exceptional athleticism to the baseball field.
Of course, you would expect nothing less from a high school wide receiver with a scholarship offer to play football at the University of Nebraska, similar to the situation that 2011 first-round draftee Bubba Starling found himself in.
The difference is Harrison has more natural athleticism and a better hit tool than Starling ever did. Like the Kansas City prospect, Harrison is a big project with huge boom-or-bust potential, but the all-around upside is as good as any high school hitter in this class.
Full Scouting Report
Note: Numerical scores are on the conventional 80-point scouting scale, with the current score first and projected score second.
Harrison's hit tool is the biggest question mark in pro ball; has good-looking swing with plus bat speed; mechanics are unusual, as he starts with a wide base and then takes a small step forward; relies a lot on his upper body to generate power; has a good physique but is wasting the swing without using a strong lower half to generate power behind the swing.
He has plus raw power that will struggle to play in games with his current swing; bat speed and finish, which includes loft and generates backspin, are a nice starting point for professional coaches to work with; has to make better use of his legs to drive the ball as consistently as he should.
Plate Discipline: 40/50
When you are splitting time between two sports, it's hard to develop all your skills in either one; only way to develop an approach at the plate is repetition and being able to see pitches, find your zone and determine what works; unrefined hitter at the moment and will get beaten early by average off-speed stuff; bat speed could allow him to make more contact than the usual player on his development path.
If you have a scholarship to play wide receiver at a major college program, it's a safe bet that you can run; clocked at 6.6 seconds in the 60-yard dash and will have no trouble beating out a few infield hits and taking an extra base; has long legs and really glides around the bases.
There's some debate about where Harrison's future lies, but given his speed and natural athleticism, teams should give him a chance to play center field; always has right field as a fallback plan, but the value his glove will provide in the middle of the diamond is huge; is learning to take proper routes and read the ball off the bat but can cover a lot of ground in a hurry.
Harrison's best tool is arm strength; has hit 97 mph on a radar gun, which is why he projects for right field; making it even more valuable is the way he throws, hitting the cutoff man and making accurate throws to third base and home plate.
MLB Player Comparison: Torii Hunter
There was a temptation to put Jason Heyward in this spot, but the ceiling for Atlanta's outfielder was so high as a prospect that it's unrealistic to expect Harrison to get there.
Torii Hunter is a more apt comparison, both physically and from a raw tools perspective. Harrison projects to have plus power with an above-average hit tool while playing plus defense in right field. Hunter made his name as a stellar defensive center fielder, a position where Harrison could play thanks to his speed, but he is more likely to end up in right field where the bat profiles just fine.
Projection: Above-average regular on first-division team; All-Star potential
MLB ETA: 2018
Chances of Signing: 85 percent
Even though Harrison has leverage in his favor, the chances of him not signing a professional contract, considering how much helium he had before the draft, are long. He's going to be a big project, but the upside is tremendous, which only adds to his value. This is the kind of player you want to build a farm system around.