December 21, 2016
Right-handed pitcher Jon Harris did everything he could to warrant a promotion to double-A ball in the near future.
Harris, who went through a mechanical adjustment on the rubber last off-season achieved the results the Toronto Blue Jays were hoping to see from the former 1st. round pick.
His adjustment took him from standing at the first base side to the third base side of the rubber. While, this might seem like a minor change, it paid huge dividends for Harris in 2016.
“The change helped a lot,” explained Harris. “Before the transition the ball stayed in the zone a long time. Now I’m throwing behind the hitter and the ball is coming in at an angle. It’s helped a lot with deception and sharpness of them. It’s also helped me locate my pitches better having them break to the spot, instead of trying to throw right to the spot.”
Having no issues locating his four pitches last season; Harris uses a fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup mix in his repertoire.
Feeling comfortable throwing any pitch in any situation, Harris describes his approach on the mound.
“I feel comfortable throwing all four of my pitches at anytime in the count, whether I’m ahead, or behind,” stated Harris. “That was a major confidence boost for me last season. It felt great being able to throw all of my pitches for strikes and being able to locate them anywhere in the zone.”
His confidence in his pitches helped Harris post an excellent 1.15 WHIP, and a respectable 6.9 K/9 ratio in 2016.
Another component to his success is his 3/4 arm angle, which helps Harris disguise the pitch a little bit more.
“My 3/4 arm angle makes me feel taller on the mound,” said Harris. “I feel my angle gives me a downward plain which is a big deception aspect, as the pitch appears lower than it really is coming to the plate.”
Impressed by his ability to throw strikes, Lansing Lugnuts pitching coach Jeff Ware discusses what makes Harris so effective.
“I really liked Jon’s ability to throw strikes,” stated Ware. “Jon commands his fastball well, has a plus curveball which he uses as a strike out pitch, his slider is coming along, and his changeup is a little firm, but it has movement to it. I was really impressed with Jon’s ability to work ahead in counts and put guys away with his breaking ball.”
All of this skill will be put on display next season, as Harris looks to earn another promotion in 2017.
With the talent that Jon Harris processes that opportunity will come sooner rather than later.