Chicago Cubs: No. 48: Ian Happ
The Chicago Cubs drafted Ian Happ with the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft. On May 13, 2017, he made his big league debut with the Cubs in St. Louis against the Cardinals, when he went 1-for-3 with a walk and a home run. I was among those who thought that the Cubs brought Happ to the big leagues a little too early, though they were looking for a spark, struggling to stay above .500 a year after winning the World Series.
With the Cubs graduating several great players to the major leagues over the previous few seasons, Happ was supposed to be next in line. Over the last three seasons, he’s shown some signs of being a solid major league player but has yet to put it all together. Happ didn’t do too badly in his first year in 2017, as he posted an .842 OPS in 115 games while slugging 24 home runs and driving in 68, good for eighth in National League Rookie of the Year voting.
However, Happ took a step back in 2018. Despite getting the chance to play in 142 games, Happ saw his OPS plunge to .761. He then started the 2019 season in the minors and spent much of the year there before getting called back up on July 26.
He started off slow but turned it on toward the end of the season and hit 11 home runs in just 58 games while posting a solid .898 OPS. With the Cubs’ rash of injuries towards the end of the season, Happ proved valuable in his ability to play first, second, third, and outfield.
With a great ending to the 2019 season, Happ showed a lot of potential and could serve at least as a solid utility player starting in 2020. If he continues to show improvement, Happ will be much higher on the list of the greatest Cubs of the 2020s.