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Rangers Prepare Breakout Prospect Dustin Harris For A Move To The Outfield

The Rangers named corner infielder Dustin Harris the organization’s minor league player of the year thanks to a breakout season in which he was the only minor league hitter to hit .300 with 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases while striking out fewer than 100 times.

The 22-year-old did so primarily as a first baseman with some games at third base. The Rangers have a good long-term third baseman in the form of prospect Josh Jung, but are thin at first.

Yet, the Rangers are planning to deploy Harris in the outfield in 2022, a transition that was put in motion during instructional league. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Harris, though, is a hitter first.

He showed nicely at Low-A Down East, batting .301 with 10 homers in 73 games. He improved upon those numbers at High-A Hickory, where he hit .372 with 10 more homers in 37 games. Harris batted .327/.401/.542 overall.

This from a player who entered the season with one career home run, in 2019.

Texas acquired Harris in 2020 in the Mike Minor trade with Oakland, and he wasn’t regarded as the best of the two prospects they received. Outfielder Marcus Smith was. But Harris came to the Rangers with an advanced idea of the strike zone, and they believed he would grow into his power.

They saw a player in 2021 who is athletic enough to play in the outfield. He throws well enough to profile in right field.

“Honestly, I felt comfortable in the outfield,” Harris said. “I’m excited to transition out there and see how it goes.”

The trickiest part is reads off the bat. The eyes play a role in that, but so do the ears.

“If it sounds good, you’ve got to get a good jump,” Harris said. You don’t know if you have to go in or out. That’s all part of it. But with the more reps, the more comfortable I’ll get with it.”


—Harris and Jung were two of the 20 prospects who participated in December at a hitter's camp at the team facility in Arizona. The camp served as an offseason check-in for Rangers officials, but also gave the prospects a chance to meet new big league hitting coaches Donnie Ecker and Tim Hyers.

—The expectation is that righthander Cole Winn (2018 draft, 15th overall) will make his MLB debut in 2022 after being the team’s minor league pitcher of the year. He said it’s hard to remain patient, but he understands why he will likely get more time at Triple-A to start the season.

“Ultimately, it’s when they think I’m ready that they’re going to pull me up,” he said. “There’s no telling when that will be, but I feel like I’m ready.”

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