Despite Ben Zobrist possibly heading to the disabled, the Chicago Cubs may not skip a beat due to the presence of rookie Ian Happ.
Unfortunately for the Chicago Cubs, Ben Zobrist could be heading to the disabled list due to a sore left wrist. The good news? Rookie Ian Happ should be able to fill the void smoothly until Zobrist is ready to return.
Although he is a rookie, Happ has played like a veteran since making his MLB debut on May 13. Happ played at every outfield position as well as second base, moving around the diamond as needed. He has also hit seven home runs, making his presence felt equally offensively and defensively.
After hitting .375 in the month of May, Zobrist 5-for-38 this month, hitting .195. His batting average has fallen from .276 on May 31 to just .223, and he even acknowledged that the injury is not getting better.
Zobrist will wait until Friday before deciding if a DL stint is necessary and says he expects to receive an MRI. Regardless of what happens, Happ should be able to fill Zobrist’s void given how similar their skill sets are.
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Happ is a Zobrist mini-me
Happ has seen plenty of action since debuting (even with Zobrist active), playing on essentially an everyday basis. If anything, the Cubs will feel Zobrist’s absence more than Happ’s presence because of how often the latter plays anyhow.
While Zobrist’s veteran presence and plate discipline are like no other, the Cubs have used he and Happ quite similarly this season. Both players have seen action in the outfield as well as the infield this season; as of Wednesday night, both players have hit seven home runs on the season.
Zobrist and Happ also both throw right-handed and are switch-hitters, hence why manager Joe Maddon has used them so similarly this season. Realistically, the Cubs have so much depth that they can handle injuries like this better than any other team. Losing Zobrist is not ideal, but the Cubs have enough help to handle it.
Without Zobrist, Happ should, at the very least, have no doubt about whether he will play on a given day. His batting average has fallen from .273 on May 27 to .207 as of Tuesday night. Without a key contributor like Zobrist, the team will need Happ to produce even more than before.
The Cubs have plenty of depth and are lucky to have what essentially is a mirror image of Zobrist in Happ. All in all, the Cubs will be fine so long as Zobrist can return in the near future.