Pittsburgh Pirates: Why Josh Harrison has been the biggest surprise

Josh Harrison

Josh Harrison

Right field wasn’t exactly a power position for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Both Jose Tabata and Travis Snider were struggling, but then Josh Harrison worked his way into the starting role.

The Cincinnati native has often been ridiculed by fans. Many questioned why he was even on the roster and thought he would never be anything more than a minor league baseball player.

Harrison may not be a flashy baseball player. He is no Andrew McCutchen or even a Neil Walker. Instead, he is a hard working utility player who does whatever is asked of him. Harrison is the guy people can’t help but root for.

Until recently, the 5-foot-8 utility man made the most of any chance, whether it be pinch running in the eighth or a start at third base.

During a swirling month of May, Harrison found himself playing more and leading the Pirates offense. What seemed like the start of a disappointing season, gave fans hope once more.

Then in a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals it was his dramatic game-ending catch in right-field that fueled Pittsburgh. That same series Harrison robbed Wilson Ramos of a leadoff double with a fully extended dive in the sixth inning in a one run game.

Harrison has made big plays in the field and came through with some big hits and a .297 average. He has given the Pirates a spark in the leadoff position. He did what Tabata and Starling Marte couldn’t. He gets on base and adds speed to the lineup.

With Gregory Polanco weeks or even days away from debuting, Harrison’s starting days may be winding down. But he did more than anyone dreamed.

This might be a fluke for Harrison or it could be a young man who is improving and ready to play every day.

One thing for sure is J-Hay is no longer the guy who doesn’t belong on a major league roster.

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