A 1-for-14 showing during the last three games has hurt Harrison’s overall numbers slightly. Obviously 14 bad at-bats don’t ruin a whole season and are way too small a sample to try to glean anything other than “Hey, Josh Harrison had a bad couple of games.” His 62 wRC+ during the last week is way below his work for the year (117), but that hasn’t bothered Pirates manager Clint Hurdle (and it shouldn’t) as Harrison batted either leadoff or second in the last five contests. Already worth 1.5 wins this season, Harrison is slashing .294/.356/.442 with six home runs and 21 RBI. His six long balls have already surpassed his total from each of the last two seasons while his current wRC+ has him on pace for his best mark since 2014 when he was an All-Star.
Speaking of the All-Star game, you can vote for the starters now. In the National League, second base is a less than stacked position, so Harrison should be given real consideration. Aside from Daniel Murphy of the Washington Nationals, no other second baseman in the NL has been worth more wins than Harrison, who also ranks second in the senior circuit in wRC+ and wOBA. So although Murphy will undoubtedly get the bulk of votes, Harrison deserves some love as well.
Being compared to an established MLB player at a young age is a compliment to be sure. For Happ, the comparisons have already started and one player he is already being equated to is teammate Ben Zobrist. Although he is not a switch hitter, Happ can play a number of different positions, which he has already done by fitting in at every outfield post as well as second base. However, although Happ has a bright future, he has had trouble since his hot start to his MLB career.
As he continues to pay the fare on the struggle bus, Happ batted a miserable .053/.100/.053 with just one hit in 20 plate appearances during the last six games. His lone hit in that time was a single against the Dodgers on May 27. Happ, who homered in his MLB debut, has a line of just .214/.313/.429 and has not had an extra base hit since May 22. That has some wondering if, or when, the Cubs will consider sending Happ back to the minors for more seasoning. For now, he’ll remain with the Chicago version of the Cubs, but a return to Iowa is obviously still a possibility.
Walsh is really trending in the wrong direction. When we checked in on him last week he had just come off an outing where he allowed three runs in less than an inning of work. Well we’re right back in the same spot today. In his only appearance of the last week, Walsh let up three runs and only got two batters out. Interestingly enough he didn’t give up a hit, but walked three batters and hit one before being lifted. Walsh’s ERA has now blown up from a solid 3.48 to an ugly 5.82 over the last two outings, and despite striking out nearly a batter per inning, he is also walking opponents at a similar rate with a WHIP in the stratosphere (1.52).
The strikeout stuff continues to work for Atkinson, who punched out seven across five innings in his start on May 31. He was pegged for three hits and as many walks in the contest, but only allowed one run while drilling his ERA down to 3.52 with the Visalia Rawhide. He has now struck out at least five batters in five-straight games, but he has also walked two or more in seven-straight. Overall, Atkinson is 2-2 with a 3.52 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 30 2⁄3 innings with the Rawhide.