Chicago Cubs: Ian Happ is quietly settling in nicely in the big leagues

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

First-year utilityman Ian Happ is enjoying a great rookie season with the Chicago Cubs, all while leaving room for improvement.

Even at this point in the season, the NL rookie of the year race is already over. Cody Bellinger is all but assured the award, as he’s putting up monstrous numbers with the first-place Dodgers. However there’s another rookie on the Chicago Cubs who’s quietly putting up impressive numbers.

Ian Happ isn’t the most ostentatious person in the world, but he’s showing off what he can do in the big leagues. Slashing .256/.326/.533 in his first two months at the pro level, he’s proving his top 10 draft pick status just two years after being selected.

His power might be the most impressive so far. With13 home runs and a team-leading .277 ISO, he’s showing that he’s more than a contact hitter. Having another power threat in the lineup this season has been crucial, especially since Kyle Schwarber has struggled.

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This power stroke isn’t by accident. Happ has committed to the so-called ‘Fly Ball Revolution,’ a movement that calls for more loft in your swing. According to science, it will make you a more valuable hitter.

“I’m trying to hit balls in the air to center field,” Happ told David Laurila of Fangraphs. “The instructor guys talk about trying to elevate, in order to produce.”

While his ground ball/ fly ball splits may be even at 40.6 percent, his FBs are homers 24.1 percent of the time, which would place him in the top 20 in the league if he qualified.

Perhaps what’s most impressive is the fact he’s doing this all while having below-average contact numbers. He’s only making contact 67.1 percent of his swings, which is porous when you look at the league average. However, when he makes contact he’s making the most of it with a .308 BABIP.

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What this tells us is if/when he starts making more contact his value will only go up. Since it seems he’s with the big league team to stay, he’ll have the rest of the season to adjust to pro pitching, all the while contributing to a team fighting to make the playoffs.

The wise man lets his actions speak louder than his words. If Abraham Lincoln was right, than Happ is pretty damn smart.