The Odd Men Out: A.J. Pollock and Will Harris


The Arizona Diamondbacks began their second day of full squad workouts yesterday and as spring camp rolls on, the team has a lot of decisions to be made at positions with depth. Two of those are the bullpen and the outfield with young, proven guys trying to prove they belong. These battles will probably take Kirk Gibson, Kevin Towers, and the rest of the coaching staff all spring to decide and might come down to who performs well in games. The one thing I know is that fierce competition in camp is always a good thing even if tough decisions have to be made.

The Snakes plan to carry five outfielders during the 2014 season: Mark Trumbo, Gerardo Parra, A.J. Pollock, Cody Ross, and one spot left open to add depth to the bench with the candidates including Tony Campana, and Shelley Duncan. Ross is well ahead of schedule in his injury progression and expects to be ready to go by Australia. As remarkable as that is, that leaves a decision to be made. With Parra and newly acquired power-hitting Trumbo locks for the Arizona outfield in 2014 the question becomes what will the Snakes do with breakout star Pollock because he is essentially the odd man out when Ross comes back with an outfield of Trumbo, Parra, and Ross.

While Ross will probably not start at the beginning of the year and will likely be eased in opening the door for Pollack, once Ross is fully healthy he will start every day leaving Pollack as the odd man out. Depth is always a good thing to have but as the D’backs experienced last year in the OF, the one bad thing is that really good players don’t get to play and Pollock is that for Arizona.

The former first round pick broke out last year showing great range in center field making all the plays defensively and really solidifying the leadoff spot for the Snakes hitting .269 with 8 HR and 38 RBI’s and constantly getting on base, the primary duty of a guy in that spot. It would be a shame if a player of Pollack’s capability wouldn’t be able to play every day but that will have to happen if Ross is ready unless the D’backs trade Ross or Pollock. In the end, A.J. is trying to prove that last season wasn’t a fluke and that he deserves regular playing time. After last season I think he has earned that right.

After the Bronson Arroyo trade, the D’backs’ bullpen will likely have an odd man out as well. The trade meant that Randall Delgado, who was going to be competing for the 5th starter’s job and out of Minor League options will now fill a spot in the bullpen and with Addison Reed, David Hernandez, Brad Ziegler, J.J. Putz, and Josh Collmenter already guaranteed spots, breakout reliever Will Harris could be the odd man out. Just like Pollock, Harris had a great 2013 actually posting the second lowest reliever ERA on the team and once again it would be a shame if he doesn’t get to pitch with the club. While he says it’s part of the job, his consistency would help this bullpen and he should be able to stay with the big league club. Like Pollock, Harris has a chip on his shoulder in an open competition to prove that he belongs this spring. Without a doubt both Pollock and Harris belong with the D’backs; it’s just a matter of what the front office thinks. Hopefully K.T and his staff will make the right decision.

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Tags: A.J. Pollock Arizona Diamondbacks Will Harris

  • Rick Daniels

    I completely disagree with you about Pollock being the odd man out. I fully expect him to be the starting center fielder.I think that even if Ross is fully healed, he will be the 4th outfielder, splitting time with Parra and filling in at the other positions when needed. Pollock is clearly the best candidate for center field and fits better into the leadoff spot.

    • Thomas Lynch

      Pollock will get at least 400 at-bats, just like last season. I think Harris’s spot might be in trouble.

  • http://cameronbray.com Bill Hansel

    I agree that Ross will be the fourth outfielder. Pollock is an exceptional center fielder. Ross will platoon with Parra in right.