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Bearcats in the Big Leagues: Slumps and an Injury

The professional baseball playing former Bearcats are not having the best luck, even after a tremendous spring from their alma mater.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Detroit Tigers Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

May and June were pretty great months for Cincinnati Bearcats baseball. They won the American Athletic Conference championship and even secured a win in the NCAA Tournament and against defending national champion Oregon State no less. The times have not been so kind for former Bearcats who are now playing professionally, although their ranks have grown in the last week with A.J. Bumpass off to make a name for himself in the Cincinnati Reds organization. Let’s take a look at where the rest of the Bearcats in the Big Leagues cast is right now.

Josh Harrison

The injury bug is no athlete’s friend and that includes Harrison, who has struggled to stay on the field over the last month and a half. He missed time from the end of April into mid-May and after returning to the lineup for the Detroit Tigers on May 13, he then played in 14 games, slashing .217/.234/.326 in 47 plate appearances. He has not played since May 27, however, and is now on the 60-day injured list. Hopefully he will have a speedy recovery and finally get past this run of bad luck.

Ian Happ

We’re still waiting for Happ to return to the MLB level with the Chicago Cubs. He was a regular contributor for the team in 2017 and 2018 but has come nowhere closer to reaching back there since we last checked in. Of course, he is doing himself no favors by continuing to struggle with Triple-A pitching, batting just .139 over his last 10 games for the Iowa Cubs. He has slashed just .226/.350/.415 in 217 at-bats and surpassing the 200 mark means we are getting into the territory where more and more trends mean something.

Connor Walsh

Despite holding an ERA above 5.00 in 11 appearances with the Double-A Birmingham Barons this spring, Walsh got promoted to the Triple-A Charlotte Knights near the end of May. It was the second time he has made the trip this season. The change of scenery has been paired with improvements on the mound, with Walsh sporting a 2.51 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP in 14 13 innings as a Knight.

Ryan Atkinson

The right-handed pitcher has made his way to Triple-A as well, getting the call in the middle of May. Unfortunately, unlike Walsh, Atkinson has found it very difficult to slow down hitters at this level. He gave up eight earned runs across four innings from May 13 to May 19 and his ERA has hovered above 10.00 ever since. A big reason for his deteriorating effectiveness is a lack of command, with 13 walks in 14 innings overall in his last 10 outings. The strikeout stuff is still there and he did throw a shutout inning of relief on Sunday, but there is still a long way to go.

Ryan Noda

Noda is another former Bearcat who is having some trouble recently. He is batting .161 with two home runs and 15 strikeouts compared with five walks in his last 10 games. He has more than twice as many strikeouts (67) as walks (28) on the season and is only slugging .409 with 19 extra-base hits in 181 at-bats. He has climbed a rung on the minor league ladder each year of his career, and in his third, he has finally hit a bit of a rough patch.

Manny Rodriguez

Rodriguez has also shared in the slump felt by the entire cast of Bearcats in the Big Leagues. He is batting just .156 in his last 10 games, dropping his average to .258 this season. His strikeout (56) to walk (19) ratio has not been ideal either. However, there is some good news.

Cam Alldred

On May 22, Alldred recorded his first save of the season and second of his career, pitching the last three innings of a 17-7 win for the Greensboro Grasshoppers. Of course, the final score didn’t end up being one that should require a save, but the Grasshoppers scored nine runs in the last two innings and Alldred reaped the benefit despite allowing three earned runs in the outing. Alldred has made 17 appearances and logged 30 innings out of the bullpen this season and has a 3.30 ERA while striking out roughly a batter per inning.

Connor McVey

McVey had not played for a week before he went 2-for-3 on Sunday for the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. The third baseman has managed to keep his on-base percentage rather high (.388) despite struggling to consistently collect hits, with just a .238 batting average in 122 at-bats. He is also slugging a mere .320 with a total of six extra-base hits, including two home runs.

J.T. Perez

After it looked like Perez would start the season in rookie ball for the Elizabethton Twins, the left-handed pitcher will instead pitch for the Cedar Rapids Kernels in Single-A.