Ian Happ’s numbers at Triple-A don’t look all that great, batting .238, striking out 26.7% (actually an improvement!) of the time and only posting a 101 wRC+. However, Happ has improved each month this season and his current hot streak is definitely something to pay attention to. And it looks like he’s made a swing adjustment that’s leading to much better results.
Here’s what Happ’s done each month this season.
April: 24 games, .233/.330/.411, 3 HR, 17 RBI, 28 K, 12 BB
May: 29 games, .242/.372/.434, 5 HR, 13 RBI, 31 K, 19 BB
June: 11 games. .237/.408/.500, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 14 K, 10 BB
So, he’s walking more and slugging more since his slow start in April. During the past 23 games, Happ has been on fire and it could be attributed to a two-hand finish on his swing?
So, what now?
The Cubs currently have David Bote and Addison Russell getting most of the starts at second base, with Daniel Descalso relegated to pinch-hitting duties. Carlos González was signed and has been getting a good amount of starts in the outfield.
Despite this current stretch by Happ, the Cubs probably won’t call him up unless there’s an injury. The team isn’t just going to DFA Descalso, so it’s most likely going to take a trip to the injured list for Happ to be called up.
Of course, the Cubs could also be using Happ as trade bait. We know the team is actively looking to trade for a left-handed reliever, with Will Smith and Tony Watson of the Giants speculated as their top targets.
Happ has mainly played center field at Triple-A this season, while getting a bit of playing time at second. Although his defense is nothing to write home about, he’s serviceable in the outfield and passable at second and third base. Obviously not average enough to get consistent time in the infield, though. But hey, kind of versatile?
If Happ can continue to put up these great numbers, then other teams will surely be interested, right? He’s still only 24-years-old and is under team control through 2023. A career .800 OPS in 257 MLB games? Yeah, there’s definitely value and a lot of potential with Happ.
For now, though, it looks like Happ will have to wait until there’s an injury to get another shot with the Cubs. Or maybe it’s with another team.