Monte’ Harrison, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound former wide receiver who turned pro instead of playing college football and baseball at Nebraska, is a Marlins prospect ticketed for Double-A Jacksonville this year.
Last year, the 22-year-old Harrison hit 21 homers and stole 27 bases at two Class A stops in the Brewers' system.
A native of Kansas City, Mo., Harrison ranked as the No. 75 prospect in baseball at the time of the trade, and he brims with confidence.
"I’m a five-tool guy who can do a lot,” Harrison said. "I take pride in every aspect of the game. I have speed, the power is starting to come . . . but there are always things I can develop. I want to be a guy who can hit for average and power.”
By hitting .272/.350/.481 in 122 games last year, the righthanded-hitting Harrison is on his way.
Harrison is the youngest of three athletic brothers. Shaquille Harrison played college basketball for Tulsa and is now a member of the Phoenix Suns organization. Phillip Harrison was a Division II running back at Northwestern Missouri State.
But the Harrison boys, along with a sister, didn’t have the easiest time growing up. Their father, Jack Harrison, was murdered when Monte’ was 6 years old.
"There was a confrontation with people,” Harrison said. "My mom cried a lot, but she didn’t tell us for a couple of days.”
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Harrison’s mother, Michelle Francis—"a strong independent woman"—kept the boys in line. Even so, they had to fight often when kids in the neighborhood mocked them after the loss of their dad.
Despite the cruelty of the neighborhood, Harrison has come out on top, signing with the Brewers after they drafted him out of Lee's Summit (Mo.) West High in the second round in 2014.
His first few years in the minors were marked by injuries. Harrison missed nearly eight months after he broke his left ankle in 2015 while sliding into home. Then, he missed two months after he broke his left hand while swinging a bat in 2016.
Last year, however, he played a career-high 122 games, and he put it all together. He had only one negative last season: 139 strikeouts.
"I don’t want to be a guy who strikes out 150 times a year,” said Harrison, who said his vision is 20/15. "I want to keep my strikeouts under 100. It’s all about pitch selection.”