5 Chicago Cubs players to keep an eye on down the stretch

(Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
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5 Chicago Cubs to keep an eye on down the stretch: #2 – Ian Happ

If there is anyone on this team who has the potential to change the game but often fails to do so, it’s Ian Happ. After slashing .336/.462/.551 in three college seasons with Cincinnati, Happ was drafted ninth overall in the first round of the 2015 draft by the Cubs. He earned the call to the Bigs in 2017 after he batted .298/.362/.615 in Iowa. Those numbers also accompanied nine homers and 25 RBI in 104 at-bats.

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Upon getting called up, Happ smashed 24 home runs and drove in 68 while batting .253. Upon batting a mere .233 in 2018, Happ was sent back down to Iowa to hopefully figure it out to begin the 2019 campaign. He played 99 games for Triple-A Iowa that year and was then called back up to the Cubs where he made key adjustments and slashed .264/.333/.564 with 11 HR and 30 RBI in 140 ABs. In the last week of the 2019 campaign, he was named NL Player of the Week.

Though 2020 was a shortened season, the switch-hitting outfielder was red-hot to begin the year. To begin September last year, Happ was slashing .294/.417/.624, good for a wRC+ of 174 and was consistently leading the league in OPS. He was also in the top five to top 10 in the MVP conversation until cooling off as the season came to an end.

That was only less than a year ago. Although he is having a very poor showing in 2021, Happ is one player who I firmly believe can and will turn it around based on his numbers historically and what we’ve seen him do in the past. Baseball is a game of adjustments. The Cubs organization clearly believes in him, as well. If he can readjust to the adjustments that have been made against him, he can once again be one of the better bats in the league. Happ’s future on the ball club could very well depend on him turning it around now, though.