Colorado Rockies’ Old Friend: Will Harris Making An All-Star Case In Houston?


Apr 25, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher W. Harris (36) pitches during the ninth inning against the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

Former Colorado Rockies’ reliever Will Harris has had an outstanding summer in Houston with the Astros, and it appears he has finally found a bullpen home. 

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When he came up with the Colorado Rockies in 2012, Will Harris threw a forgettable 20 games, allowing 27 hits in 17.2 innings and earning an unsightly 8.15 ERA and 1.87 WHIP.

Not long after, he resurfaced with the Arizona Diamondbacks where, in 2013 and 2014, he did better in the big leagues and slowly started to establish himself as a middle reliever that Arizona counted on consistently for the better part of two seasons.

Now, in 2015, he finds himself in Houston as a dominant set-up man on a good ball club. In 24 games before Tuesday’s match-up, Harris has allowed just 8 hits and 7 walks in 29.2 innings pitched. He’s only given up three runs — all on solo home runs — while striking out 34 hitters and allowing just a .084 batting average against, a 0.91 ERA, and a 0.51 WHIP.

Sure, those numbers can’t possibly continue, and relievers’ numbers are often susceptible to that one bad outing that skews the ERA totals (though… here we are, in June, and he’s still maintaining a sub-1.00 ERA). Whatever the case, Harris is another example of an old friend who has found a home in Houston, just like Collin McHugh.

In fact, our friends at Climbing Tal’s Hill have floated him for All-Star consideration:

"So far this season, Harris has been a steal for the Houston Astros. During spring training, Harris found himself closing a few games. He has found himself getting the last three outs in non-save games this year. However, lately Harris has the confidence of A.J. Hinch to serve as the fireman of the bullpen. The old term for a fireman is the pitcher who gets the save, but my interpretation… is someone who comes in and puts out the fire.Bases loaded, bring on Harris. Game tying run on second, bring on Harris. … His average fastball sits around 91.2 mph (FanGraphs) and his curve sits around 80.5 mph. He knows how to pitch in high pressure situations, which could pay off in the All-Star game. He is the best pitcher in a good Astros bullpen, and he deserves to be on All-Star roster."

It’s a tough road to the All-Star Game for a reliever who doesn’t get saves, but if anybody can earn a nod in that case, it’s a guy with a sub-1.00 ERA who strikes out more than ten hitters per nine innings and delivers a WHIP well below 1.00.

Harris meets those criteria, and depending on the relief options in the American League, perhaps an All-Star nod is justified.

Either way, Harris is an example of a former Rockie who — after taking a few years to figure it out — seems to be finally adjusting to a big league bullpen.

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