"Splitsville" is a series of articles on the Nationals' prospects that we'll be doing throughout their minor league careers. In version one/chapter one (v1.1) of Brendan Harris, we'll look how he did against the right-handed pitchers versus the southpaws, how he hit with runners in scoring position, and more.
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Road Warrior: The old adage goes, "home is where the heart is". That really wasn't the case for infielder Brendan Harris of the New Orleans Zephyrs in 2005. In fact, Harris is most likely hoping to call RFK Stadium home next season, not only because he'll be in the Major Leagues, but to avoid playing at Zephyr Field again.
Harris hit just .233 in 62 home games this past season for New Orleans while hitting 70 points higher away from Zephyr Field (.303) in three more road games. Not surprisingly, Harris scored 19 more runs and drove home 17 more runs on the road in 2005. However, his disparity in his power numbers were even more prevalent on the road.
32.8% of his hits on the road went for extra bases, including eight more double and all four of his triples among his 25 extra-base hits away from home. Conversely, Harris collected just 14 extra-base hits at Zephyr Field. Even his walk ratio (.093) was considerably higher on the road than it was at home (.060). While it is impressive to see his great road stats, his home splits are a little concerning.
Bring On The Righties: Harris, a right-handed batter, surprisingly had a lot more success against right-handed pitchers than he did against southpaws in 2005. While he hit just .250 against left-handed pitchers, Harris hit .277 against righties. While his power percentages were roughly the same against the two different sets of pitchers, Harris did have a much higher walk ratio against southpaws, in fact, twice as high.
His walk ratio against lefties was .121 but only 0.62 against right-handed pitchers. While he did hit right-handed pitchers better this past season, it would benefit him to increase his walk ratios against them. If he could take a few more pitches against them, his numbers could really take off.
The Dog Days Of Summer: Brendan Harris struggled towards the end of the year as the summer heat increased. He hit .312 with 22 extra-base hits in a 48-game stretch over the months of May and June, but hit just .240 with 14 extra-base knocks over his final 57 games of the year. Some baseball people believe it is not how you start, but how you finish, that determines how good a player truly is. Harris is going to have to avoid the same pitfalls in the future to show more consistency.
Better At The Back End: Judging from his splits this past season, Harris is better suited hitting in the back end of the lineup than at the top. He hit just a combined .242 batting either second or third in the Zephyrs lineup this past season, but hit a much better .308 batting sixth or seventh in the order. 10 of his 13 home runs and 16 of his 22 doubles came batting fifth or lower in the batting order.
It is not a slight on his ability, but rather further evidence that he could be a very productive force at the bottom of the lineup, which only makes the entire batting order better overall.
More Ducks On The Pond: Further evidence among his splits that supports his value as a hitter in the bottom half of the lineup is his average with runners on base. Just a .251 hitter with nobody on base for New Orleans this past season, Harris hit 40 points higher (.291) with runners on base. He also hit a very respectable .279 with runners in scoring position.
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