Alonzo Harris hits a home run for Guerreros de Oaxaca.

40/40 is Still Good

Drafted in the 39th round of the 2007 Major League Baseball amateur player draft, Alonzo Harris never made it past the Double-A level in the New York Mets organization. For 6 years Harris toiled in the Mets organization. He added positional flexibility by moving from second base to the outfield and providing adequate defense in center and left field. The pop was never really present for Harris during his affiliated years. He was fast, made a decent amount of contact and got on base at a respectable clip. He never wowed though, and without any sort of calling card to his name he was quickly shuffled out of affiliated ball altogether

His first few years in unaffiliated ball brought about one specific change to Harris’ game, power. Initially, Harris added a little pop to his game, setting a career-high of 15 home runs in 2015 with the St. Paul Saints of the American Association. Over the following years, Harris showed more and more thump in his bat, and he did so while getting better at stealing bases. His stolen bases totals increased, sure, but he was getting caught less and less. He had taken his above-average speed and transitioned into a plus runner thanks to his ability to get better jumps, read pitchers better, and know when to steal versus when to hold himself back.

2018 represented a step back for Harris. He bounced around between the Liga Mexicana de Béisbol’s Tigres de Quintana Roo and the York Revolution of the Atlantic League. He wasn’t bad at either stop, but his power numbers dropped precipitously, he slugged .530 for York in 2017 versus .406 the next year. He also found himself with far too many times caught stealing on his ledger. Harris ended the year with Mayos de Navojoa of Liga Mexicana del Pacífico, and the results were much the same. Decent all around, but a continued lack of power coupled with inadequate use of his speed.

Entering the 2019 season at 30 years old a case could be made that Harris had entered a premature decline phase of his career. Signing with the LMB’s Guerreros de Oaxaca Harris was meant to bring a contact-oriented bat and a little bit of speed to the table. Instead, Harris found his power stroke and baserunning acumen again. In the process, the Guerreros got themselves a definite Most Valuable Player candidate.

So far this year Harris is slashing .337/.427/.698, and he’s mashed 26 doubles while legging out 5 triples. His defense in both left and center field is, as per usual, very stout. What should really grab your attention is that Harris is on a path to a 40/40 season. He currently sits at 33 home runs and 39 stolen bases with 24 games to go. There’s no doubt that Harris will get the last stolen base he needs. However, 7 home runs in 24 games is not a given. There have been a couple of 20 game stretchers this year where Harris did hit 7 or more home runs, so it is doable.

40/40 seasons don’t grow on trees, no matter what league they come from. Alonzo Harris has a chance to join rarified air and maybe win himself an MVP in the process (full disclosure, my pick for LMB MVP is Félix Pié of Bravos de León). No matter how the season ends, Harris has bounced back from a down 2018 in a big way and re-established himself as a premier player on the unaffiliated baseball scene.

Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – El Imparcial

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Bill Thompson
Father (human/feline/canine), husband, Paramedic, Socialist, writer Internet Baseball Writers Association of America and Off the Bench Baseball; freelance writer at various online and print publications. Member Internet Baseball Writers Association of America & Society for American Baseball Research.

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