Chicago Cubs: Future plans for Almora and Happ?

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images) /

Albert Almora, Jr. and Ian Happ are just two more players in a long line of young, potential impact players that the Cubs have. But, both of them may have cloudy futures in a Cubs uniform, both for different reasons. What are these reasons, in particular?

First, the similarities between the two players: They were both first round picks by the Chicago Cubs, by Theo Epstein and Co. Both of them can play center field. Okay, yeah, that’s about the extent of the similarities. Happ is a bat first, infielder first hitter with power, who will take his walks with some contact issues. Know who else had contact issues when they first came up? Javier Baez and Kris Bryant, and they turned out just fine. Almora is a glove first outfielder with not much power, will normally make contact and not draw too many walks.

Staying with Almora, this may be the single toughest player to read on this current Cubs’ team. Who is he? Is he a platoon outfielder who will just hit lefties, or is he a full-time player who will play gold glove defense and give you power?

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There have been flashes of both of these so far this season, so much so that Albert is a full-time player against left handed pitching. It doesn’t hurt that his defense has gotten miles better since the beginning of the season.

As for Happ, he has shown he can hit, and he can hit in bunches. He has loads of power as well, to all fields, cracking nineteen home runs so far in his rookie season, well on his way to joining the 20+ home run club. But, here’s the problem: Ian is a natural second baseman, but Javier Baez is much better defensively at second. Almora is much better defensively in center. Happ has been a better hitter than Almora.

Next: Rondon starting to raise concerns

Possible solution?

Where is the full-time spot for Ian Happ? Second base looks to be Baez’ long term spot, and are the Cubs comfortable using a CF platoon as they have for much of this season? Say, in the off season, that the Cubs want to add another controllable starting pitcher.

Would they dangle either of these guys to get it done? Even though Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have repeatedly said, they don’t want to break up the Major League team. But, even as we’ve seen before, they will make a trade that is best for not only the team but sometimes, the player, too. See: Jorge Soler.