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6/3/1985 (31 y, 9 m, 23 d)
2004 June Amateur Draft - Round: 4, Pick: 18, Overall: 119, Team: Chicago White Sox
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Harrell agreed to a minor league deal with the Blue Jays on Monday that includes an invitation to spring training, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca reports. (1/30/2017)
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Q&A: Lucas Harrell, Astros Sinkerballer Supreme
David Laurila (FanGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Fantasy owners received underrated production from Lucas Harrell in 2012. Many overlooked the 27-year-old due to a lack of strikeouts and an above-average walk rate, but he owned a 3.76 ERA and 11 wins by the end of the season. That's valuable at the back end of any fantasy starting rotation. Before getting too crazy and drafting him as a sixth-or-seventh starter for your squad, however, note that question marks exist heading into the 2013 season. Harrell and the Astros transition to the American League last year, and the AL is regularly tougher on pitchers. He also had the third-lowest swinging-strike rate amongst qualified pitchers last season, so the lack of strikeouts should be expected to continue. Even worse, he's backed by one of the league's worst defenses. The Astros ranked second-to-last in the league with -70 DRS (defensive runs saved) and third-to-last with -31.3 UZR. For a ground-ball pitcher who will see the ball put in play more often than the average pitcher, that's concerning. Harrell enjoyed a solid season in 2012, but plenty of red flags exist for the upcoming season. Tread carefully. (JP Breen)
The Quick Opinion:
After a surprising season which saw Harrell compile a better ERA than Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, and Adam Wainwright, the right-hander projects to take a step backward in his sophomore campaign due to a lack of swing-and-miss stuff and a move to the American League.
Lucas Harrell lost more games than any other pitcher in 2013 with 17. It just goes to show that leading the league in something isn’t always good, and it’s actually quite incredible given that Harrell made just 22 starts and 14 relief appearances. While he’s rumored to be drawing trade interest this offseason, at present Harrell looks set for another year in Houston, either at the back end of the rotation or playing a swingman role. At age 28, there’s still room for hope that Harrell can rediscover his 2012 success (193.2 innings, 3.76 ERA, 3.75 FIP) but it doesn’t seem at all likely given the turd sandwich he turned in last season (5.86 ERA, 5.42 FIP). His ground-ball profile just isn’t enough to get by on because he can’t strike anybody out (12.6%) and can’t hit the plate (12.5% walk rate). The strikeouts and ground balls have always been this way but the walks hadn’t been this big an issue in some time; even if he could find his way to average control (and he can’t), the strikeouts really cap his upside. (
The Quick Opinion:
Calling someone the ace of the Astros is damning praise, to be sure, but Lucas Harrell failed to live up to even those low expectations in 2013. Even if the control improves, he can't strike anyone out and figures to be a back-end guy at best.
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Updated: Sunday, March 26, 2017 3:36 AM ET
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