Josh Harrison’s hidden value to the Oakland A’s
By David Hill
When Josh Harrison was acquired by the Oakland A’s, the expectation was that he would slide into a super utility role. Capable of playing both corner outfield positions, second, and third, Harrison was likely to slot around the diamond, getting a good amount of playing time even if it was not at one specific area. With Ramon Laureano being suspended for a failed PED test, that seemed even more likely.
Instead, Harrison has primarily slotted in at second base, moving Jed Lowrie to the designated hitter role. He has gotten time at third and left since joining the A’s, but five of his six starts have come at the keystone.
Josh Harrison providing added benefits for Oakland A’s
Harrison has been his typically solid self thus far. He has seven hits in his 26 plate appearances, hitting a homer while stealing two bases and striking out just once. But Harrison has also provided value that is not visible in the stat sheet.
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His presence has allowed the A’s to find a way to rest Lowrie and keep his bat in the lineup. He has made just one at second in that time, taking over as the primary designated hitter. While he has not exactly been on fire in that span, with four hits in 26 plate appearances, he has gotten on base ten times and scored five runs.
Lowrie has also displayed a tendency to slow down as he has more playing time this season. It is not a surprise given that he had a total of eight plate appearances in the previous two years, but he would need a day or two off in order to get his bat going again. That may not be an issue now that the A’s have someone else who has taken over at second.
In the end, it is a matter of being able to put out the best possible lineup each day. The A’s have been able to do that by managing Lowrie’s workload, even getting him in over 100 games for the fifth time in his career – all of which have been with Oakland. Having Harrison on hand will only help to keep him in the lineup.
Josh Harrison has been exactly what the Oakland A’s had hoped for. He has even come with extra benefits that can make a difference down the stretch.