FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 15, 2017
Contact: Austin Anderson
219-882-BALL ext. 229
Chase Harris finished the 2015 season confident about his status in the Philadelphia Phillies organization. He finished the season with a .255 batting average, a .310 on-base percentage and 23 RBI. Despite playing well, Harris was released from the Phillies organization before the 2016 season. He certainly was surprised, but knows baseball can be unpredictable at times.
“I was having conversations with people, and they were telling me their plans for me this year [and] where I was going to be playing,” he said. “Then all the sudden, someone a little higher up makes the final decision, and you kind of got to roll with it.”
Harris knew that he could hold his head high despite being released, especially with receiving high remarks from his coaching staff there.
“I know I won a lot of people over in that organization, my outfield coordinator really liked me, a lot of my managers loved the way I played. They loved the way I went about my business.”
Harris transitioned into to the American Association in 2016; first with the Lincoln SaltDogs and then with the Gary SouthShore RailCats. His season totals included a .256 batting average and a .320 on-base percentage.
Harris is also known for his speed. He has 48 stolen bases during his three-plus seasons as a professional baseball player. Manager Greg Tagert’s teams are known to be aggressive on the base paths, and Harris’ playing style certainly meshes.
“For myself, I am just trying to get to the next bag,” said Harris. “Anyway I can do that; whether that’s stealing, or ball in dirt reads, it’s just trying to get to the next base.”
In his first 64 games since joining the RailCats, Harris has 17 stolen bases.
But arguably Harris’ best aspect of his game is defense. He has been known for making diving catches in key moments of ballgames.
One catch that caught the eye of Tagert was a diving catch in left-center during opening weekend series last month in St. Paul. Fellow outfielder Cam Newell would say that a catch in Fargo last season was the best he’s seen. But either way, Harris enjoys getting complements from teammates and coaches, calling them an “ego booster.”
Harris is versatile defensively, he plays all three outfield positions. He understands the differences between the three positions.
“Center is a tough throw, especially coming home,” said Harris. “The corners, if you are playing right field, you have a righty [hitting], you might have some slice to it going towards the line. Same thing in left with the lefty. It’s just knowing the hitters you are playing against, and reading the swings and the ball off the bat.”
Despite the versatility, Harris does prefer one position over the others.
“I like Center, I like being in charge and being able to direct the outfield with what I am seeing in center,” said Harris. “I like having the final say. If I want it, I will call the [other outfielders] off.”
Harris isn’t the only one who observes him taking charge on the field. Manager Greg Tagert has been open about Harris’ leadership skills, and Harris is certainly appreciative of that.
“One thing that’s [true is that] you can’t self-appoint yourself as a leader. It’s how the team looks to you,” he said. “If people are looking at me that way, that’s definitely an honor, because it means hopefully you have the respect of most of your teammates.”
Harris hopes that his leadership and experience will eventually lead him back to affiliated minor league baseball, but for now he is very content in Gary.
“[Affiliated baseball] is the ultimate goal,” he said. “I feel like I am good enough, and hopefully someone else thinks so too and gives me a shot. For now I’m here, and I’m going to do everything I have to help us win, and I like playing with the guys we have here.”
Gary returns home to U.S. Steel Yard on Monday, June 19 for the start of a three-game series vs. Sioux City. First pitch against the Explorers is at 7:10 p.m. Monday’s game is another MetroPCS Monday. Visit your nearest Northwest Indiana MetroPCS location for a reserved seat ticket voucher to Monday’s game.
Jared Shlensky and Austin Anderson bring you all 100 RailCats games this season on WEFM (95.9FM) and online at railcatsbaseball.com. Fans can purchase tickets for RailCats home games by calling (219) 882-BALL or online at railcatsbaseball.com. The RailCats box office is open Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
A day at Steel Yard is non-stop fun, and that's even without the baseball! The RailCats promise a wide array of laugh-out-loud between inning entertainment, great giveaways, jaw-dropping fireworks and a family-first, kid-friendly atmosphere! RailCats fans come in all ages, shapes, and sizes, and the RailCats promise every fan will have fun.
One Stadium Plaza
Gary, IN 46402