Harrilchak Impresses Braves During AFL Stint
ATLANTA—Cory Harrilchak is making the most of his time in the Arizona Fall League. The outfielder earned player of the week honors on the circuit after hitting .474 (9-for-19) with three home runs and seven RBIs during a five-game stretch in late October for the Phoenix Desert Dogs.
Harrilchak's home run total equaled his output from the entire 2010 campaign, when he hit a combined .287/.354/.400 in 118 games split between low Class A Rome and high Class A Myrtle Beach. While the desert air may have played a role in the former Elon standout's power performance, the Braves believe this is further proof that the 23-year-old Harrilchak has the ability to become a solid all-around outfielder at higher levels.
"Cory's had a great fall league," Braves farm director Kurt Kemp said. "(Hitting coach) Jamie Dismuke has said he's swinging the bat very well and doing a great job of driving the ball. In many ways it's a case of him building on a very good first full season at the minor league level."
While Harrilchak, a 14th-round pick in 2009, has the all-around ability to produce on the diamond, the 5-foot-10, 175-pound outfielder's work ethic and desire outshine his tools. Nevertheless, he is an above-average defender in center field with a good and accurate arm. He also runs well in the field and on the basepaths. His swing produces line drives from gap to gap with the ability to drive the ball on occasion.
"We've always thought that he had a really nice stroke," Kemp said. "He has one of the better swings in the organization. He has a very good path to the baseball and he has very good at-bats. He's continuing to improve as a player and making the adjustments that he needs to make."
• Shortstop Tyler Pastornicky, acquired from the Blue Jays during the season and promoted from high Class A to Double-A upon joining the Braves, was named to the Rising Stars Game in the Arizona Fall League.
• First baseman Freddie Freeman's stint in the AFL came to an early end after he was sidelined with an injured thumb suffered while sliding head-first into third base. Outfielder Jason Heyward suffered a similar injury in the same manner last fall in Arizona, as did Atlanta second baseman Martin Prado in September. The Braves are emphasizing throughout the organization the dangers of sliding head first, yet realize the move is often instinctive and reactionary.