Zo Zo Zo Merry Christmas, Saints Re-Sign Single-Season Stolen Base Holder Alonzo HarrisST. PAUL, MN December 21, 2015
ZO ZO ZO MERRY CHRISTMAS, SAINTS RE-SIGN SINGLE-SEASON STOLEN BASE HOLDER ALONZO HARRIS
ST. PAUL, MN (December 21, 2015) – The St. Paul Saints must have been on Santa’s nice list this Christmas season. Needing speed to cover the spacious outfield at CHS Field, the Saints got the perfect gift. With leftfield speedster Willie Argo already re-signed, the Saints turned their attention to the man that patrolled center field all season long. Alonzo Harris, who set the franchise single-season stolen base record in 2015, will have a chance to top it this season as he re-signed for 2016.
The 26-year-old Harris had an all-around great year in 2015 while hitting leadoff most of the season. He hit .298 with 15 homers and 62 RBI in 90 games. In 386 at bats he scored 75 runs, cracked 14 doubles, three triples, swiped 39 bases, a .339 on base percentage and .466 slugging percentage. He became the second player in Saints history to hit at least 10 homers and steal at least 30 bases. The only other player to accomplish the feat was Adam Frost in 2013 (10 homers and 38 stolen bases). Harris’ 39 steals (5th in the American Association) surpassed Frost’s 2013 single-season record and his 75 runs (3rd in the league) were tied for the third best mark in a season by a Saints player. In addition, Harris had a very solid 13.8% strikeout rate, fanning just 58 times in 420 plate appearances.
“Alonzo is one exciting player,” said Saints Manager George Tsamis. “He is a tremendous centerfielder. I don't think I can count on two hands the number of spectacular plays he made out there. There were just so many. He swung the bat well. You don't find too many guys with his speed and power. I think he has the chance to play at the highest level because defensively there is no doubt in my mind he is a big league outfielder.”
Harris’ season was highlighted by a number of accomplishments. He became the 15th different Saints player to homer in three straight games when he homered on August 23 vs. Sioux Falls and August 24 and 25 at Wichita. Harris recorded a 13 game hitting streak from June 14 – July 6 and collected an RBI in a career high six straight from July 15-20. On the base paths he swiped three bags on August 30, stole two bases five times, stole a base in four straight once and three straight once. On six other occasions he swiped a bag in back-to-back games.
On the defensive side his eight outfield assists tied him for seventh most in the American Association.
Harris reached the Championship Series in the Can-Am League with the Jackals in 2014 after beginning the year in the Miami Marlins organization. He hit .290 with seven home runs and 52 RBI in 89 games for the Jackals. In 355 at bats he scored 54 runs, had 15 doubles, seven triples, 34 stolen bases, a .345 on base percentage and a .431 slugging percentage. Harris finished second in the league in triples & stolen bases, tied for third in sacrifice hits (9), fifth in stolen base percentage (.810) & ninth in batting average. He stole a base in an astounding nine straight games from August 10-18 and was named the Can-Am League Player of the Week for the week ending August 19.
Harris was a 39th round selection in the June First-Year Player Draft by the New York Mets out of McComb (MS) High School in 2007. He played from 2008-13 in the Mets organization and played the entire 2013 season at Double-A Binghamton.
In 2012 at High-A St. Lucie he stole a career high 40 bases, good for third in the Florida State League and finished fifth in runs scored with 74. Harris has swiped at least 15 bases since 2009. He’s averaged more than 24 steals a season during eight professional seasons.
The Saints have also sent infielder Ryan Lashley to the New Jersey Jackals of the Can-Am League to complete the May 1 trade that sent shortstop Anthony Phillips to the Saints.
Harris is the fifth player re-signed this off-season joining American Association Player of the Year, catcher Vinny DiFazio, Argo, Phillips and pitcher Robert Coe.