The first month of the season is in the books at most levels of professional baseball. With such a passage of time, all the warnings about small sample sizes are starting to dissipate and what we can expect for the rest of the season is beginning to take form. With that written, there is still quite a bit of baseball to be played in the next few months, so let’s see where former Cincinnati Bearcats across the major and minor leagues stand and where they need to go from here.
What has already been a relatively difficult season for Harrison got worse this week when he hurt his left shoulder and found himself on the 10-day injured list. The Detroit Tigers infielder has not played since last Friday when he 0-for-4 with a pair of RBI against the Chicago White Sox. That showing ended a small hitting streak of three games for Harrison, who took advantage of the struggling Boston Red Sox by slashing .417/.417/.583 in 12 plate appearances against the defending champions. He amassed two multi-hit games in that series as well, surpassing his output for the entire season in the process. Any momentum he picked up from that series has been stalled now, however, meaning we’ll have to wait a bit longer for Harrison to push himself above the Mendoza line.
There is still no word on when we can expect to see Happ back with the Chicago Cubs. Through Thursday, Happ had been through 27 games and 98 at-bats and produced a slash line of .235/.336/.398 with 10 extra-base hits. He has struck out twice as often (28) as he has walked (14), but he is batting .286 over his last 10 games boosting his average up from .209 in the process. We still don’t know exactly what it will take before Happ gets back to the Show, but he is at least beginning to turn the corner lately, even if he still has improvements to make.
Congratulations are in order for Walsh, who was promoted to Triple-A Charlotte this week. The right-hander reliever got to this point in 2017 and posted a 3.86 ERA in 14 innings, but he never found his way back last season. In his first appearance for the Knights (who are an affiliate of the White Sox), Walsh tossed a scoreless inning of relief with two strikeouts and a hit allowed. He followed that up with a less appealing outing on Thursday, surrendering two runs on as many hits and walks in 1 2⁄3 innings of work. He posted a 3.52 ERA in six appearances in Double-A before being promoted.
Atkinson looked like he was pitching well enough to earn a promotion of his own, but he has had some issues of late allowing five combined runs allowed across two of his last three outings. He reversed the trend on Wednesday, firing two shutout innings of relief while striking out three for the Jackson Generals in a 3-2 loss to the Tennessee Smokies. Atkinson has continued to keep his strikeout rate very high (23 in 15 2⁄3 innings), while limiting his walks (five allowed), but sometimes hitters are going to find his pitches. That’s why his ERA has spiked up to 3.45 after being below 1.00 on April 23.
Noda launched his third home run of the season on Thursday and is now slashing .284/.366/.455 for the Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays. The front end of that line looks pretty great, but his slugging and on-base work has taken a step back from his efforts last year. In particular, after posting a walk rate of better than 20 percent last season, he is sitting at 11.1 percent currently. We’ll see in the next few months if Noda is able to make the adjustments to return to a more successful approach at the plate.
Rodriguez has not been in the lineup for the St. Lucie Mets since April 27. When he has been out there, he has had tome trouble, batting .222 in his last 10 games and posting an OPS of just .684 for the year overall. A lack of pop is the main culprit, as he is slugging just .289 and putting far too many offerings on the ground, ultimately costing him a more successful start to the campaign.
Alldred is having problems of his own, allowing five earned runs across his last two relief appearances. That has led to a major fluctuation in his ERA, which has ballooned to 4.26 even as he has struck out roughly a batter an inning during his eight appearances this season.
An easy way to earn a permanent spot in the lineup is to consistently get on base. McVey is doing just that for the Wisconsin Timbler Rattlers. The third baseman is reaching base 43.3 percent of the time, drawing eight walks in his last five games alone. That patience is leading to better results with the bat as well, as he is batting .333 in the last 10 games, including a 2-for-2 effort yesterday when he hit his first home run of the season.
Check back on June 18 when Perez opens the season with the Elizabethton Twins.