Harris is making the transition to the outfield
SAVANNAH, GA – Second base has become a position of strength in the New York Mets farm system, but that doesn't mean learning some flexibility is a bad thing. That is what Alonzo Harris is undertaking in his second year with the Savannah Sand Gnats. The second baseman is taking to the outfield in a move he believes he will help his value.
[FREE PREVIEW OF PREMIUM CONTENT]
For Alonzo Harris, the shift between neutral and fast is a quick one. The young second basemen/outfielder has always been known for his speed, his drive, and desire to apply his consistency to the game. However, its this 2011 Sand Gnats season that has Harris changing things up.
“I’ve been spending time transitioning to the outfield,” Harris said, who made his debut to left field against the Greenville Drive on April 17. “Basically, coming from second base to the outfield has been very good. It allows me to know where to go when I get a ball because I know infield so well since I played that position.”
Harris feels that this will make him more of an asset to the team. “The transition will put more value in me as a player,” He explained. “So the coaches can say, ‘just play second base tonight, that’s all we need you for,’ but if they need me outfield I can switch it up fast. If I have to, I can juggle roles. I can be that guy.”
To become that guy, Harris has spent the majority of Spring Training focusing on his speed, only practicing in the outfield during the last week. However, Harris is confident that he’s ready.
“Its going to be an easy transition,” He said. “It has always been easy for me to juggle roles. Everyone worked on their game over the break, and I’ve learned to slow the game down and play it right. I’m really quick. I can get to the ball quick, but when I get it, I now know to slow the game down to avoid mistakes.”
Harris also applies his speed and agility to his defense. Harris, who stole 18 bases in the 2010 season, is always thinking of getting from first to second as fast as possible.
When I get to first base,” Harris said with a smile. “I’m going to steal second. I’m always going to steal it. At some point in time, any time on first, I’m going for it.” Already, in the early 2011 season, Harris has stolen four bases.
That’s not to say he’s reckless. Harris knows when to slow down. “The only time I’m not thinking about stealing is when the manager tells me not to. If they give me the red light, I understand to stop and read the situation of the game. The scoreboard is going to dictate that. If we’re down, I don’t want to be risking outs.”
Its not just the game that Harris has applied his speed to, but life as well. The Mississippi native, with a .211 batting average, went straight from highschool to the minor leagues in 2008, which was something Harris was use to.
“I was playing junior high ball,” Harris recalled, “and that was a full advancement. So you had a 12 year old playing with all these 18 year olds. So basically, when I went from high school straight into professional ball, rather than going through college, it was much of the same.”
Despite feeling like the young guy, Harris said he’s never felt out of place. ““I was 18 when I came in, still feeling young and fresh, got my energy and going at it. It has actually been fun and challenging. My competition level has always been the same as everyone else’s. I always feel like that. 24/7, I’m a competitor all the time. I’ll do whatever I got to do to get to the next level, to get the advantage.”
Subscribe to InsidePitchMagazine.com to not miss a beat of the entire 2011 season, including feature articles, Q&As, prospect updates and more.