Despite some bumps and bruises the last month, the captain of the Bearcats in the Big Leagues has been pretty great for the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 56 plate apperances across 13 games, Harrison has slashed .320/.375/.460 with a weighted on-base average of .357 and a wRC+ of 127, making him 27 percent better than league average in that time. Harrison has taken an aggressive approach, which is nothing new for him, as he has just a 3.6 percent walk rate in the sample we’re looking at and a 4.8 percent reading for the season overall, which is still a step up from his career mark of 3.9 percent.
Despite only having four home runs so far this year, Harrison has already been worth 1.1 wins according to FanGrahps, primarily due to strong play on the base paths (1.8 BsR) and in the field (2.1 defense above average). As for his work with the lumber, he is slashing .294/.339/.418 and is once again providing a consistent force at the top of the order, even as his name swirls in trade rumors for a Pirates team whose finger has to be hovering over the full reset button.
Even though Ian Happ’s defensive numbers are not in the elite category, he can still pick it in the field. In a June 8 game against the Pirates, Happ made three incredible catches in the outfield, including a robbery of a would-be hit for Harrison.
Happ is a versatile piece of the puzzle for the Chicago Cubs, as he can play just about any position outside of the battery of pitcher and catcher. He has appeared at first, second, third and all three outfield spots this season. Sure, things could be better, as he has a total of minus-3 defensive runs saved, but that versatility, man, that’s tough to find.
As far a hitting the ball goes, Happ has plied his trade fairly well. He’s still on a feast-or-famine trip, with a strikeout rate of 39 percent since the beginning of June, while batting just .212. However, he has somewhat made up for that by drawing walks (.366 OBP, 19.5 percent walk rate). Unfortunately, the normally powerful utility player has pnly one home run in his lasts 41 plate appearances, during which he is slugging just .333. With a wOBA of .303 in that time, he has actually been a below average contributor offensively, even if he has been slightly better than last year when you mix the months of April and May in as well. (114 wRC+).
It is really puzzling what has happened to Walsh. For a guy that posted a 3.36 ERA across 56 1⁄3 innings in Double A and Triple A combined last season, the fact that the right-handed reliever is currently sporting an unsightly 10.67 ERA in 28 2⁄3 innings with the Birmingham Barons (AA) defies explanation. Walsh has still struck out way more than a batter per inning (41 total), but he is allowing a .346 opponent batting average and has surrendered 27 earned runs in his last 16 1⁄3 innings. He will need to turn things around and do it quickly.
Atkinson is also playing in Double-A, serving as a starter for the Jackson Generals. He has made four starts in the month of June. In his most recent outing, he pitched very well, allowing only two hits and as many walks during six shutout innings to earn his third win of the season. He has a 3.63 ERA in his last 10 appearances and has struck out 63 batters in those 52 innings. In total, he is 3-6 with a 3.76 ERA and 78 strikeouts across 13 starts and 64 2⁄3 innings.
Noda has become a menace to billboards everywhere. The Lansing Lugnuts slugger and top 20 prospect for the Toronto Blue Jays is melting the Single-A world right now. In his last 10 games, he has launched seven home runs and batted .395. A slow start in terms of batting average is why he is only hitting .253 for the season, but that number is deceiving. Noda has been getting on base at an incredible rate (.447 OBP), walking 58 times compared to 34 strikeouts, while he is slugging .455, with 20 total extra-base hits. Noda found his power with the Bearcats during his senior season and he is continuing that development professionally.
Campana is playing in the Mexican League, but hasn't appeared in a game since June 3 when he went 1-for-5 against Toros de Tijuana. Campana, at 32-years-old, is batting .289/.348/.351 with 18 stolen bases this season, but he is hitting just .206 in his last 34 at-bats.
Rodriguez was drafted in the 10th round of this year’s draft by the New York Mets and has already made some impact for his first professional team, the Brooklyn Cyclones. He recorded his first hit as a professional on Saturday, driving in a run in the process.
Rodriguez still has work to do, as well. That hit you just saw is his only one of his first 11 at-bats and he has struck out seven times. That’s a tough start, but there is still plenty of time for him to adjust and improve.
Alldred had a very impressive junior season and used that to leapfrog into the professional ranks, signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is beginning his career with the New York-Penn League’s West Virginia Black Bears, who started their season on Friday.
UC’s ace for 2018 was selected in the 29th round of the draft by the Minnesota Twins but has yet to sign. Hopefully that will happen soon.