The Pittsburgh Pirates are in last place in the competitive National League Central, with eight wins in 18 games. The tough sledding has not been a fault of Harrison, who hit well over the last week and improved his season slash line to .291/.371/.364. Sure, power is nowhere to be seen, but Harrison, a bat who hits near the top of the order or toward the middle rounds, isn’t expected to be a source of much pop. He has just one home run and three RBI this season, while walking once and being hit by six pitches (something we talked about last week).
In six games during the last week (three against the Cardinals and three against the Yankees), Harrison slashed .333/.400/.333 and did not amass a single extra-base hit, while scoring just one run. Harrison’s lack of doubles, triples and home runs can be credited to an increase in soft contact, as 23.4 percent of the balls he has hit have been categorized as such. He also isn’t using most of the field, pulling the ball 66 percent of the time. He has been a much better hitter to all fields during his career, with a pull rate of 41 percent in six plus years.
It appeared that Happ had figured out Triple-A pitching in the first few weeks of the season, but he has cooled off during the last week, with his average falling from .311 on April 16 to .257 as of posting. He has still launched seven home runs, but has just one in the last six games. He went 0-for-4 in three-straight games beginning on April 17, but has recovered some, with at least one hit in the last three games. With a .919 OPS he is still having a strong start to his Triple-A career, but it might be too early to crown him king of the level.
One outing can ruin your week. Unfortunately for Walsh, he only had one chance to color the last seven days, as he pitched on April 20 and was silent outside of that. His work in that game was less than ideal as he allowed two runs on three hits and two walks in 2 1⁄3 innings. He now has a 6.75 ERA in eight innings across five relief appearances, although he is still striking out more than a batter per inning (1.125).
Another strong start from Atkinson has him looking like a difference maker for the Kane County Cougars in Single-A. Atkinson lasted six innings and scattered four hits and two runs across that time on April 22. His strikeout total dipped again, as he had four punch outs after accounting for 15 combined in his first two starts. He is 2-0 with a 1.53 ERA during three total starts this season and has a WHIP below 1.00 (0.91).