Much of baseball is about counting and counting statistics are some of the most holy to the game. Home runs, runs, strikeouts, hits. Accumulate enough of them and you can become a legend. One counting stat that isn’t really all that revered is the HBP (hit by pitch). The all-time MLB leader in HBPs is Hughie Jennings, an infielder who played from 1891 to 1903. He was hit 287 times. Josh Harrison may not be making a run at that record, but he certainly felt the sting of more than the normal amount of pitches this past week, recording four HBPs. Such work bumped his OBP up to .357, improving his overall slash line along the way (.270/.357/.378).
Aside from the unfortunate, Harrison also hit fairly well this past week, recording six hits in 21 at-bats, including his first home run of the season. His 2-for-4 efforts against Cincinnati and Chicago marked his first multi-hit games of the campaign as well. He also stole two bags, but was caught stealing once as well.
Happ’s stock is just continuing to rise, which is causing the Cubs to try him out at other positions to find him playing time. Happ’s ability to play multiple infield positions would match well with his proven skills in the outfield and make him an even more important part of Chicago’s farm system. Helping the cause even more is just how well Happ has been hitting in the early going. He has six home runs in 11 games (45 at-bats) and is slashing .311/.367/.733 in his first taste of Triple-A. At this pace, the 22-year-old will be getting a long look from the big league club sooner rather than later.
After not allowing a run in his first two appearances of the season (2 1⁄3 innings), Walsh had trouble keeping the scoreboard clean in his most recent outings. On Wednesday against the Montgomery Biscuits he allowed four runs (three earned) in just 2⁄3 innings to take his first loss of the year. He then surrendered a run in 1 2⁄3 innings against the Biscuits on Sunday. Walsh has a good strikeout per nine inning rate (11.1), but his ERA has ballooned to 6.35 despite a WHIP of just 1.06.
Atkinson is a starter for the Kane County Cougars and a good one if the early returns are to be believed. In his season debut he struck out 10 batters in 5 2⁄3 innings of shutout ball and he followed that up with six innings in which he allowed just one run and struck out five. He is now 2-0 with an 0.77 ERA and striking out 11.6 batters per nine innings.
The MLB veteran is off to play indy ball, as he signed with the Sioux City Explorers of the American Association if Independent Professional Baseball.