STOCKTON, California —— The Oakland Athletics‘ James Harris gets at-bats for the Stockton Ports of the California League during the 2016 season in our video post above. Harris, a former first round draft pick of the Tampa Bay Rays (2012), is an interesting lesson in perseverance. After he was released by the Rays, his hometown Athletics picked him up as a minor league free agent and gave him a second change at affiliated baseball.
Now, just a couple years later, Harris has hit his stride. A very strong 2016 season saw Harris slash .303/.379/.423/.802 across 119 games in High-A Stockton before he earned himself a promotion to Double-A Midland RockHounds — where he won a Texas League championship.
Even beyond the championship, though, Harris re-doubled his efforts in the outfield and at the plate, and now has an opportunity to make an impact on the big league club down the road one day thanks to firmly planting himself back on the prospect radar. Even five years ago now, he was a first round draft pick for a reason, after all. James Harris’ athleticism has never been in question, and now that he’s maturing both in his approach at the plate, and in his mentality towards the game, something special may be quickly coming down the road for this strong, speedy, rangy outfield prospect.
The above video was taken across several games during a July 2016 series between the Ports and the High Desert Mavericks, formerly a Texas Rangers affiliate. In the coming days, we’ll have a feature up on James Harris’ perseverance story in overcoming his initial release by the Rays.