Chicago Cubs: How much more failure can we expect from Ian Happ?

Ian Happ,Chicago Cubs (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Ian Happ,Chicago Cubs (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Watching the first two games of this weekend’s Chicago Cubs-Arizona Diamondbacks series has reminded me of something I was wondering before the All-Star Break: Why is Ian Happ ever in the starting lineup for the Cubs?

In my opinion, Happ, without a doubt, is the greatest disappointment for the Cubs this season. Time and again he seems to come up with a chance to fire up his team and time and again he hits into a double play, grounds out weakly or strikes out. Happ’s WAR this year is a reserve’s level at 0.2 and he has only 23 RBI. Meanwhile, Patrick Wisdom, with only 119 at-bats, has a WAR of 1.2 and 24 RBI.

More from Cubbies Crib

If you think the low-.180s batting average Happ currently carries is bad, for his last fifteen games he has hit .175 and for the last thirty he is at a miserable .164. In 73 at-bats over those thirty games he has 25 strikeouts. Those are Javier Baez-level strikeout numbers without the power.

In 2020, Happ hit for a .268 average with 63 strikeouts in 198 at-bats. This year in 235 at-bats, Happ has 80 strikeouts and 35 walks. For a player who supposedly has a ‘good eye’ for the strike zone, that’s pretty pathetic.

Baez, admittedly the current ‘King of the K’, has 118 strikeouts in 297 ABs. But he also has 21 home runs, twelve more than Happ, and 57 RBI, to Happ’s 23. In short, he’s finding way to bring value to the team, despite his strikeout rate.

Chicago Cubs: What’s wrong with Ian Happ?

In the game Saturday against the Diamondbacks, Happ came up twice in situations where he could greatly help the team. In the seventh Happ was up with Nico Hoerner on first. He hit into a double play. In the ninth inning with the Cubs down one, he stood and watched as strike three was called on him as if he wasn’t even ready. To me he looks indecisive at the plate, as if he’s lost his confidence.

Why does he keep starting? Does Happ have incriminating photos of Rossy in embarrassing situations? I mean, after Ross’ Dancing with the Stars journey, we’ve seen just about everything from the Chicago skipper already. I just can’t fathom why we keep trotting him out there. I realize Happ is signed until 2024, but why not just use him as a defensive replacement or as a pinch-hitter in a non-critical situation?

Next. Will family ties to the Red Sox bring Bryant to Boston?. dark

Rafael Ortega, Jake Marisnick and Eric Sogard are all players the Cubs can trust to come through on a regular basis. Let them take the starts. Happ isn’t just struggling, at this point of the season, I’m convinced Happ flat-out can’t pull the trigger.