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Bearcats in the Big Leagues: Harrison Keeps Pirates Afloat (Barely)

Josh Harrison may be having the best season of his career. The Pirates are, uh, not.

Pittsburgh Pirates v New York Mets Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Josh Harrison

June has been a great month for Harrison so far, at least on an individual level. He has slashed .387/.486/.645 and smashed five extra-base hits in 38 plate appearances. One of those extra-base hits was a home run, his seventh of the season. As home run totals around the league surge, Harrison has found his power stroke as well. He had four dingers all of last season, the same number he had in 2015. His career-high of 13 came in 2014, his All-Star season. With an isolated power reading of .162, Harrison is still a tick behind his long ball work during that campaign, but still far above what he did the previous two years. Unfortunately, his efforts have not done much for the Pirates, who are 3-7 in their last 10 games and currently in dead last in the NL Central. You’d have to wonder where they’d be if Harrison was not enjoying a season in which he is batting .307/.375/.369.

Ian Happ

He’s still playing at the MLB level, but Happ continues to have trouble making contact consistently. With 11 strikeouts and a .200 batting average in his last 29 plate appearances, Happ is coming dangerously close to the Mendoza Line for the season, batting .211 overall. During this last week or so, Happ has done a decent job getting on base, all things considered, as his .310 on-base percentage in June is obviously far below ideal, but pretty solid considering his average. Happ has also continued to show raw power, as he exhibited with his first career multi-home run game against the Cardinals on June 4. Despite his propensity for striking out, Joe Maddon has inserted Happ into the leadoff role for the Cubs recently, and you have to wonder if its the right spot for him in the lineup. A .200/.286/.600 slash line is not your prototypical leadoff man reading. In total, Happ is slashing .210/.312/.481 with his bouts of power buoying his OPS (.793).

Connor Walsh

The last time we checked in on Walsh he was having a bad couple of games. He traded those in for a good pair this time around. He threw 2 13 shutout innings and struck out five batters on June 7 against the Tennessee Smokies. Then, on June 10 he threw one shutout inning, striking out three batters, although he also gave up a hit and two walks while taking the loss. Walsh’s ERA is still in the dumpster (5.04), but he is striking out batters at an elevated rate (29 in 25 innings).

Ryan Atkinson

Speaking of elevated strikeout rates, Atkinson has been producing those all year. He had nine strikeouts over seven innings of one run ball in his lone start since our last update. He has had at least nine punchouts in three of his last five games and has a total of 69 (#nice) in 57 23 minor league innings this season. He is also 5-3 with a 3.11 ERA if you’re looking for more back of the baseball card kind of numbers.