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Bearcats in the Big Leagues: Josh Harrison is an All Star

It’s the second appearance of his career.

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Harrison

Easily the All Star of the Bearcats in the Big League crew, Harrison was recognized as one of the best players in baseball this season by being named a reserve for the 2017 MLB All Star Game. Harrison is the only representative from the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are just 37-45 and in fourth place in the NL Central. They are also a team with only three players with a bWAR at 2.0 or above, with Harrison ranked second on the team behind Ivan Nova.

Harrison was also an All Star in 2014, when he posted a 5.0 fWAR for the season. He has a 2.3 fWAR this year and a wRC+ of 119. He’s hitting for power (by his standards) with nine home runs and an isolated power reading of .159. He’s been able to have such success by pulling the ball more while making significantly more hard contact. He’s also continued to be an asset on the base paths, as he has been worth 1.3 base running runs.

His last week wasn’t at an All Star level, however, as he slashed .250/.348/.300 in his last 23 plate appearances, but his overall season has been easily worth an All Star nod.

Ian Happ

If Harrison is the current BITBL All Star, Happ will be the next one. We can probably stop wondering when he’s going to be sent back to the minors because he has been a key part of the Cubs’ lineup for a few months now. Despite actually being a negative in base running and a so-so fielder, Happ has done enough work with the bat to be worth 1.1 fWAR. His power hitting has really carried his season, with an ISO of .302, which puts him in company with Eric Thames and Joey Gallo. Happ smashed a pair of home runs on Sunday against Cincinnati, bringing his season total to 12. One day, Happ will be in an All Star game, even if its just to participate in the Home Run Derby.

Connor Walsh

While an All Star game at any level isn’t part of the immediate future for Walsh, he still had a nice week. Across two appearances he tallied 3 13 innings, allowing just one hit while striking out four batters. He tossed one inning of shutout ball against the Biloxi Shuckers on June 29 and followed that up with 2 13 scoreless innings against the Shuckers on Sunday. Those performances have Walsh nearly back to a sub 4.00 ERA. He has also continued to strike out more than a batter per frame, with 39 punchouts in 33 23 innings across 21 appearances.

Ryan Atkinson

Atkinson made one start in the last week and it was a good one. He hurled seven fine innings, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out five against the Peoria Chiefs, Unfortunately, he was handed the loss, as the Kane County Cougars succumbed to a 1-0 defeat against the Chiefs, showing once again that win/loss record is not the best statistic to evaluate pitchers. Case in point, Atkinson has a 3.12 ERA and 73 strikeouts in 57 23 innings over his last 10 starts, but his record is just 2-5 in those games. The right-hander is just three punchouts shy of 100 now, and his 3.48 combined ERA in the minors this season is obviously solid.