Saints Sign Five Time 20 Home Run Hitter Brett Harper, Son of Former Twin Brian HarperST. PAUL, MN March 7, 2016
SAINTS SIGN FIVE TIME 20 HOME RUN HITTER BRETT HARPER, SON OF FORMER TWIN BRIAN HARPER
ST. PAUL, MN (March 7, 2016) – It appears the St. Paul Saints will have their choice of who hits in the heart of their lineup in 2016. A week after signing power hitter Michael Burgess, the Saints double-downed signing another big left-handed bat, Brett Harper. Harper is the son of former Minnesota Twins World Series champ, catcher Brian Harper.
The 34-year-old Harper has spent the last few years playing internationally, spending the 2015 season tearing up Mexico. He hit .294 with 16 homers and 40 RBI in just 54 games with Monclova of the Mexican League, the U.S. version of Triple-A. In 194 at bats he had three doubles, a .384 on base percentage and a .557 slugging percentage.
Harper has produced five 20 home run seasons, the most recent was in 2012 when he hit 30, the second time in his career he’s accomplished that feat, spending time between Monclova, Mazatlan of the Mexican Winter League and Rakuten of the Japanese League.
“Brett is an experienced player that has been pretty productive,” said Saints Manager George Tsamis. “We are happy to have him and think he will be a big left-handed bat in our lineup.”
Harper’s career spans 14 years and he was a 45th round draft and follow selection in 2000 by the New York Mets out of Scottsdale Community College. After spending time between Rookie Ball and High-A from 2001-03, his first big breakout season came in 2004 primarily with High-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton (he played two games for the GCL Mets). In 107 games he hit .307 with 17 home runs and 85 RBI, the first time in his career he hit double-digit home runs. His .350 average with nine homers and 55 RBI in 60 first half games at High-A St. Lucie earned Harper a selection to the Florida State League All-Star team, however, he was unable to participate due to his promotion to Binghamton.
In 2005 Harper made his second mid-season All-Star team when he was selected to the Florida State League All-Star Game for the second consecutive season. A week after the All-Star game Harper was promoted to Binghamton. Between the two stops he hit .277 with career highs in home runs (36) and RBI (102). His 36 home runs were third most in all of minor league baseball.
After an injury plagued 2006 Harper came back with a vengeance in 2007 at Double-A Binghamton. He was selected as a mid-season and post-season All-Star and hit .296 with 24 home runs and 88 RBI. Harper finished third in the Eastern League in home runs, tied for fourth in RBI and fifth in total bases (238).
Harper got his first opportunity at Triple-A in 2008 with the San Francisco Giants organization and he didn’t disappoint hitting .315 with 20 home runs and 59 RBI in 123 games.
In 2009 Harper spent time at Triple-A with both the Los Angeles Dodgers organization and Toronto Blue Jays and hit a combined .292 with 19 homers and 71 RBI.
After a brief stint at Triple-A Sacramento with the Oakland A’s in 2010, Harper spent the next five seasons (he missed all of 2014) either playing in Mexico or Japan.
The Saints have signed seven players, six position players and one pitcher.
The 2016 season begins on Thursday, May 19 at CHS Field with a 7:05 p.m. game against the Gary SouthShore Railcats.