Scottsdale, Ariz – Monte Harrison was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the second round (No. 50 overall) of the 2014 MLB Draft out of Lee’s Summit West High School in Missouri. Harrison signed with the Brewers on June 7, 2014 for $1.8 million. He was assigned to the AZL Brewers in the rookie league, although he had committed to the University of Nebraska to play football before being drafted. He was ranked as the No. 23 overall prospect in the Draft, as he batted .433 with two home runs, 12 doubles, two triples, 35 RBIs, 45 runs, 26 stolen bases and a .567 OBP in 2014. With that type of potential you can see why he chose to play baseball, and so did Milwaukee.
Harrison was known as a three-sport athlete in high school, playing football, baseball and basketball. In football, he had 60 receptions for 1,007 receiving yards, 13 receiving touchdowns, 198 rushing yards, 12 rushing touchdowns and threw a touchdown pass as a senior. With success in those sports, he talked about his choice to pursue baseball professionally.
“Just for the love of the game. When it came to baseball, every time I stepped on a baseball field, there was a smile on my face. People would say I was different. I just wanted to pursue that and I’m glad I did. This is one of the best things ever just to play the game you love every single day,” said Harrison.
His decision to pursue a professional career on the diamond led to experiences entering the draft and being drafted. Harrison shared recalled those events. “I kind of had the feeling it was gonna happen, but at the same time, I still had the football run so some teams were scared about the whole thing. I was telling them I want to play baseball. I’m glad the Brewers took a chance on me and I got to pursue my dream.”
Playing here in the Arizona Fall League, prospects are facing other prospects night in and night out. Harrison spoke about facing the best of the best and gauging himself. “The whole experience is just a blessing to be out here. Being around the top guys and face the pitching that we do. It’s not every day you get to step on the field and you’ll see these guys in the big leagues. It’s a blessing being out here with the top name guys.”
During the 2017 season, Harrison was named Carolina League Player of the Week from July 31-August 6, as he hit .344/.364/.719 with a league-high three home runs. He talked about that honor. “That week was actually pretty wild. I had a couple people around so I felt very at home. I hit three home runs and played great defense. I just wanted to help my team win. That’s all it is at the end of the day.”
When a player embarks on their professional career, there are always achieved milestones that can never be taken away. On June 24, 2014 Harrison hit his first professional home run, helping the rookie-level Brewers defeat the Indians, 9-1, in the Arizona League. He shared that moment with me. “If you don’t play baseball, people don’t realize how hard it is to square up a baseball. That day was a blessing to get the first one out of the way. Once I hit it, I kind of knew it was gone. I was like man I can live. I can finally breathe. That’s all that people talk about when you get into pro ball so I am glad I got it out of the way quick.”
In 2017, Harrison split time at two different stops. He started with the Single-A affiliate Wisconsin Timber Rattlers and ended with Advanced-A Carolina Mud Cats. Combined, he hit .272 with 27 home runs and 67 RBI.
Entering the fifth week of the AFL, Harrison is batting .258 in his eight games played, but is tied for tops on the Salt River Rafters with three home runs, and second on the team with nine RBI.
The manager of the Rafters is J.R. House and he has been impressed with Harrison as well. “He is a beast. He is great in the clubhouse and has a great worth ethic. Fun to be around. Just look at him play.”
Harrison’s brother Shaquille Harrison plays for the Northern Arizona Suns in the G-League. His season, just started with their second game scheduled for Thursday in Prescott Valley.