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A History of Bearcats Taken in the MLB Draft Who Reached the Big Leagues

Being drafted isn’t the end of the journey.

Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Professional baseball has been around for quite a long time but the MLB Amateur Draft as we know it now started in 1965. Since then, there have been plenty of players from the University of Cincinnati who have been selected and given the chance to tread the path to the major leagues. However, that journey is an incredibly difficult one and only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of another fraction of players even make it from the pool of those who are lucky enough to be drafted. As the 2019 draft continues on this week, let’s take a look back at former Bearcats who not only had their name called but got to experience The Show.

Butch Alberts

Primary Position: Designated hitter

Years Played: 1978

Career WAR: -0.1

Alberts was a 28th-round selection in 1972 and six years later he finally got to take some swings at the MLB level with the Toronto Blue Jays. Alberts was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates and also spent time in the then California Angels’ system but came over to Toronto in a trade in 1977. During the 1978 season he appeared in six September games for the Blue Jays, accumulating 18 plate appearances and batting .278 with a single extra-base hit. Unfortunately, he would never make it back.

Skeeter Barnes

Primary Position: Third base

Years Played: 1983-85, 1987, 1989, 1991-1994

Career WAR: 0.9

Barnes stayed close to home with his first MLB team, as he was a 16th round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 1978. He would go on to play parts of nine seasons with the Reds, the Montreal Expos, St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers. It was with Detroit that he found the bulk of his success and playing time, slashing .281/.319/.420 with an OPS+ of 102 in 553 plate appearances across 278 games in four seasons with the Tigers. He was at his best in 1991 when he set a career-high with five home runs and 10 stolen bases while producing an OPS+ of 121.

George Glinatsis

Primary Position: Starting pitcher

Years Played: 1994

Career WAR: -0.3

Glinatsis was actually drafted twice, in the 49th round in 1990 and in the 32nd round in 1991. He was tasked with two starts during the 1994 campaign for the Seattle Mariners. In the first, he allowed five earned runs on four hits and six walks in 4 23 innings against the Baltimore Orioles on July 18. He then faced the Boston Red Sox on July 24 and only got two outs before he was removed from the game. He would pitch in the minors until 1998 after that but never get a chance to lower his career ERA of 13.50.

Kevin Youkilis

Primary Position: First base

Years Played: 2004-2013

Career WAR: 32.6

Youkilis had quite the career, playing primarily for the Boston Red Sox, which was the same team that drafted him with the 243rd overall pick of the 2001 draft. He was a member of the 2004 team that came back from down 3-0 in the ALCS to the New York Yankees and went on to win the franchise’s first World Series since 1918 but he made more of an impact after that. He went to the All-Star Game three times, won a Gold Glove (and another World Series title) in 2007 and finished third in MVP voting in 2008. He hit better than .300 in three-straight seasons from 2008-2010 and recorded an on-base percentage of at least .381 with at least 400 plate appearances every year from 2006 to 2010. His career sputtered out after he was traded by the Red Sox in 2012, but he finished with an OPS+ of 123 and with 32.6 wins above replacement.

Josh Harrison

Primary Position: Second base

Years Played: 2011-Now

Career WAR: 13.3

After being a key member of UC’s impressive 2008 squad, Harrison headed to the Chicago Cubs organization as a sixth-round pick. He would later be traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates and then would spend eight seasons in Pittsburgh starting in 2011. He had his breakout for the team in 2014 when he earned the first of two All-Star appearances to this point. He slashed .315/.347/.490 with 58 extra-base hits and 18 stolen bases to help the Pirates capture their second-straight playoff appearance. For his entire career, which has led him to Detroit this season, Harrison has a .273/.313/.401 triple slash line and has accumulated 13.3 wins above replacement.

Tony Campana

Primary Position: Center field

Years Played: 2011-2014

Career WAR: 1.5

Campana was another member of that 2008 team which featured four MLB draftees that summer. Like Harrison, Campana was taken by the Cubs and he would make his debut for them in 2011. In that first season, he played a career-high 95 games and stole 24 bases to go along with a line of .259/.303/.301. He stole another 30 bases the following season but his playing time would continue to fall as he played 2012 with the Cubs, 2013 with the Arizona Diamondbacks and 2014 with the Diamondbacks and the Angels. After stealing 54 bases in his first two seasons combined, he only managed 12 in the next two years, which was untenable with his career OPS+ of 61.

Ian Happ

Primary Position: Center field

Years Played: 2017-2018 (so far)

Career WAR: 2.3

No Bearcat had ever had his name called in the first round before it happened to Happ in 2015. The ninth overall selection made it swiftly through the minors and played his first game with the, you guessed it, Cubs in 2017. He came in eighth in the NL Rookie of the Year voting that season, hitting 24 home runs and posting an OPS+ of 113. He regressed to an extent last season, finishing the year with 15 home runs and an OPS+ of 102 in 49 more plate appearances. He has been working on some things in the minor leagues so far in 2019, but its likely that he will get another chance at the MLB level soon.

All statistics are courtesy of Baseball-Reference. Primary positions were determined by the position at which each player logged the most plate appearances.