To coincide with our Seattle Mariners of the month feature, Prospect Insider will also be highlighting a couple of top performers from around the major leagues on a monthly basis as well. In July it was first baseman Jose Abreu and starter Clayton Kershaw that took home the honors. Dustin Ackley and Hisashi Iwakuma took the awards for August M’s of the month, and as a reminder, Mariners players will not be included in these posts. Let’s take a look at who were the best of the best in July.
Josh Harrison, 3B/OF, PIT — 123 PA, .347/.374/.602, 175 wRC+, .254 ISO, 12 2B, 3 3B, 4 HR, 9 RBI, 4 SB
Harrison became an enigma of sorts after his selection to the National League’s All-Star team earlier in the summer, but has proved to be a pivotal part of this year’s Pirates team. The 27-year old has had his positional flexibility utilized throughout the year — he has played shortstop, second base, third base, and both corner outfield spots — while morphing into a consistent leadoff hitter who plays plus defence. While superstar Andrew McCutchen was out of the lineup, Harrison turned into the go-to-guy and produced 12 multi-hit games in August. His 175 wRC+ was third among qualified batters for the month as well.
The Pirates are still within reach of a playoff spot — though the division leading St. Louis Cardinals now boast a five game lead — but that may have to be via the Wild Card. Harrison will likely be a big part whether or not Pittsburgh is able to reach the postseason in consecutive years.
Alex Gordon, OF, KC — 118 PA, .292/.356/.585, 163 wRC+, .292 ISO, 2 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 16 RBI, 1 SB
Madison Bumgarner, SP, SF — 6 GS, 4-1, 46 IP, 1.57 ERA, 2.09 FIP, 2.24 xFIP, 56 K, 3 BB, 4 HR
The San Francisco Giants have been trending upwards of late and the ace-like performance from Bumgarner has played a huge role in their success. The left-hander averaged nearly eight innings per start in August thanks in large part to a pair of complete game shutouts, including a one-hitter thrown against the Colorado Rockies. Bumgarner also hit the double-digit strikeout mark three times and allowed three earned runs on just a pair of occasions — he yielded one earned run or less in his other four starts. Bumgarner posted the third-best walks per nine innings rate as well as the fifth-best strikeouts per nine innings among qualified starters during the month.
Clayton Kershaw, SP, LAD — 5 GS, 3-1, 40 IP, 1.80 ERA, 2.18 FIP, 2.47 xFIP, 44 K, 8 BB, 2 HR