Analysis: Josh Harrison was the Pittsburgh Pirates’ main choice at second base in the 2016 season. As the hot stove of the MLB Winter Meetings approaches, it will be interesting to see if Josh Harrison will be dealt or if second base will remain a bastion of consistency for another year.
Josh Harrison quickly became a fan favorite when he began his Pittsburgh Pirates career with a debut in 2011. A perfect mixture of God-given talent, hustle, and irreplaceable swagger and charm, Harrison won over yinzers’ hearts with every smile. Who could forget the Pirates’ 3-2 victory in 11 innings against the Mets on June 27, 2014? Harrison avoided multiple tag efforts to advance to third in the 9th, and then ended the game with an electric walk-off double off of ex-Bucco Vic Black in the 11th? He embodied the Pittsburgh spirit: hustle, grit, and hard work.
Mostly used as a Swiss Army knife for manager Clint Hurdle, Harrison could be placed anywhere in the field. He would play his heart out, no matter the score of the game or the current run of form J-Hay was enduring. It pained me back in the earlier days of Josh’s career with the Bucs, knowing that he probably would always remain a super-utility man. But after Neil Walker was traded for Jon Niese in the offseason before the season, the Pirates needed a more permanent option at second base, and Harrison gladly stepped in.
A Rundown of Second Basemen in 2016
Josh Harrison was definitely the main man at second base for the Buccos in 2016. J-Hay made 128 appearances at second for the Pirates throughout the season, including 122 starts. Basically, J-Hay was the everyday second baseman, with spot starts for others sprinkled throughout.
What’s more important than looking at last season, though, is looking ahead at what’s to come.
Well, that’s hard to say. So many different reports have said so many things about the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Energizer bunny. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports had reported that the Bucs’ front office planned to shop Harrison hard if they were able to lock up Sean Rodriguez to a new contract, which they didn’t do.
With Rodriguez gone, the chances of Harrison’s departure have dropped significantly. If J-Hay were to leave, either Adam Frazier or Alen Hanson would have to assume the position of second baseman. As good as those two might be in the future, they are definitely not ready for prime time yet.
Honestly, my best guess is that Josh Harrison will return for at least the first few months of the 2017 season, with the trade deadline being a time to keep your eyes on. However, who knows what the Pittsburgh Pirates’ front office will do these days? Anything seems possible. Either way, the 29-year-old spark plug Harrison would be a great player to have as a consistent starter for next season, and I don’t think my heart could go on if he left.