Continuing with our preview of prospects in the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft that the Texas Rangers have been linked to, or mentioned as having interest in, with their #33 and #37 picks...
Today, we take a look at California high school third baseman Travis Harrison.
In the Minor League Ball mock draft, Harrison went to the Rangers at pick #37. The Hardball Times mock draft has Harrison going to Texas at #33. And Frankie Piliere's mock draft at Scout.com has the Rangers taking Harrison at #33.
Harrison is a righthanded power hitter out of Tustin, California, who is ranked #78 in the Baseball America top 200, and has committed to play college ball at USC. There are questions about Harrison's ability to stay at third base, and it sounds like he's likely to end up moving to first base long term. There are also questions about Harrison's hit skill -- BA says that some scouts see him as someone who could be an above-average hitter, while others don't see him as being better than average.
Harrison's power is what makes him a potential first round pick. Chris Bahr writes that Harrison hit a 504 feet home run at Tropicana Field in the 2010 International Power Showcase, setting a record for that event. Harrison is seen as one of the best prep power hitters in the draft.
Keith Law has Harrison ranked #36 on his top 100 list, and is seemingly more optimistic about his hit tool than BA is, saying that his bat should play at first base.
Harrison is a guy who, like Jake Skole, the Rangers' first pick last year, has been a late riser, gathering momentum late in the process. In addition, in a draft filled with guys dropping because of bonus demands, Harrison seems to be someone who shouldn't be a difficult sign...like Josh Osich, who we profiled yesterday, Harrison is someone the Rangers may grab at #33 or #37, with the idea of taking potentially tougher signs in later rounds.
Harrison may also be attractive to the Rangers because the organization is light on corner power bats. While the Rangers aren't going to draft for need, any organization wants to have balance in its system, and Harrison would help fill that hole in the farm system.