Chicago Cubs: This year’s outfield mix is about to make some noise
Chicago Cubs outfielders Ian Happ and Albert Almora need to take the next step.
If there’s one thing that the pandemic has taught all of us, it’s that tomorrow is promised to no one and you’ve got to take advantage of opportunities as they present themselves. For two Chicago Cubs outfielders – Albert Almora and Ian Happ – this short season can serve as their showcase to the next level.
While both Happ and Almora have suffered from inconsistency in the past, spring training performances showed that both players are at the peak of their MLB development and are ready to join the ranks of the Cubs biggest stars.
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Can you imagine if both Happ and Almora start pounding the ball for doubles, triples and dingers? We already know they each have the prowess and athletic ability to get themselves into position for the hardest catches in the deep green but just imagine the effect on the Cubs if both these guys start pounding the ball?
Many fans thought the effect of Almora’s foul ball incident that injured a young girl last season was the root cause of his inconsistency but Almora is ready to put the past behind and focus on winning as he told Chicago NBC Sports Infinity Network’s Gordon Wittenmyer previously:
"“It was tough,” he added. “And it’s not figured out. No one here figures it out. But you do the things you can control. … I’m in a good mental spot right now, and that’s all I can really ask for.”"
Almora is definitely in a good spot coming off a spring training performance that saw him put up a .323 OBP, .517 SLG and .840 OPS. Tell me those aren’t coming out of your shell numbers! In 11 games, Almora put up eight hits and six RBI. There is no doubt Almora was smoking the ball before the pandemic hiatus and should be even more ready to take it to the next level when the Cubs return in July.
The other Cub ready to get on the field and get it done is, as I mentioned, the utilityman-turned-outfielder, Happ. This guy has not been shy about his feelings to get back on the field during this pandemic and who could blame him?
Happ has been described as a man on a mission since he returned from Triple-A and the pandemic threw a huge log in the middle of his path to a comeback. If Happ’s returning numbers from Triple-A are a clue to what he has in store this season, then Happ is certainly ready to get loud and proud on offense.
Upon returning last season, Happ lowered his strikeout rate to just 25 percent. Happ’s power accounted for 11 home runs with a .564 slugging percentage. With his switch-hitting ability and power, expect Happ’s name to become pretty popular in this short season.
Chicago has numerous big-name players that can exert their influence into the game; with Almora and Happ joining that group this upcoming season – fans are going to get LOUD for the Cubs outfielders.