PROSPECT OF THE WEEK
Rich Harden, RHP, A's (AA)
Harden (No. 22 on our Top 100 Prospects list) is off to as good a start as anyone could have. He made his first two starts at Class AA Midland in the Texas League, pitching 13 perfect innings while striking out 17 batters. The young righthander was then bumped up to Class AAA Sacramento, where he allowed two runs on four hits and no walks while fanning eight batters in six innings of work.
So for the season Harden is 3-0 with a 0.95 ERA with two hits, no walks and 25 strikeouts over 19 innings of work. Not bad.
In terms of raw talent, Harden is right there with the "Big Three" (Hudson, Mulder and Zito). His fastball is usually in the mid-90s, plus he throws a slider, splitter and change -- the change is probably the best of the three. Harden has also added a two-seam sinking fastball to his repertoire. The kicker is that he also throws strikes.
A few more starts like he's had so far and he'll be moving into Oakland's rotation for good. John Halama had better not falter or else he'll wind up in the bullpen