Cubs News: Ian Happ is a dark-horse NL MVP candidate

 The Chicago Cubs Ian Happ had many questions surrounding him coming into the 2020 season.  After a great first month of the season, he is making a case for NL MVP.

The Chicago Cubs’ Ian Happ has had a wild ride so far in the big leagues. Getting called up in 2017 and hitting a homer in his first game to being sent down to the minors to start the 2019 season– Happ has been through a lot in his short amount of time in the big leagues.

Happ was called back up to the big leagues in late July last season and was very good in the final two months of the season. Even with Happ finishing the year off strong, there were questions about who the starting Centerfielder for the 2020 Cubs would be going into Spring Training.

It was a battle between Happ and Albert Almora in spring training. Both got off to a good start during the spring, making it at the time a tough decision on first-year manager David Ross on who would be the guy.

Right before the COVID-19 shutdown of baseball, it was feeling like Ross was leaning towards Happ being the guy.

After the first month of the season, Ross made the right decision between Happ and Almora. Happ has been the Cubs’ best player over the first month of the season, and Almora was optioned to the alternate site.

Heading into Friday’s series with the Cardinals, Happ is slashing .311/.421/.648 in 146 plate appearance, with 10 home runs and 22 RBIs.

The best part is that it seems as of now the Cubs finally found the leadoff guy. After struggling with the position since 2016, it looks like they finally found that guy in Happ. After Kris Bryant got hurt, the leadoff position was up for grabs. Ross but Happ in the spot and he has not disappointed. In 66 plate appearances leading off, Happ is slashing .318/.416/.727 with seven home runs and 12 RBIs.

On September 2nd Happ ranked third in the NL with a 1.064 OPS, batting over .300 and getting on base 42 percent of the time. Happ also has a 1.9 WAR trailing only Fernando Tatis, Jr. (2.6), Mike Yastrzemski (2.1), and Mookie Betts (2.0) in all of baseball. Some pretty good numbers out of a guy that people didn’t even know if he would be a starter at the beginning of the year.

Happ is making a case for NL MVP. Now it will be hard for him to beat out the big names of Tatis and Betts in the NL but he will be getting some votes. Happ put together an MVP type game in Pittsburgh this week. As he hit a leadoff homer, he had what ended up being the game-winning RBI and a game-saving catch in extras.

Next: Cubs vs. Cards series could determine division winner

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Who would have thought that we would be here with Happ getting MVP talk after he was not even on the big league roster to start the season last year? I fully expect Happ to continue what he has been doing at the leadoff spot and help get the Cubs back into the postseason.