3 More Chicago Cubs Likely to be Gone After This Year – #1: Ian Happ
Ian Happ makes the top of this list due to the sheer struggles he has battled this year. For one, his batting average in the .170s is simply not acceptable on a big league roster. Sometimes it seems like he is swinging a bat with a hole in it. The biggest argument to be made against Happ this year is not his average or the strikeouts, It’s the fact that he is yet another former first-round pick that has not lived up to first-round pick potential on the North Side.
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That’s where things get a little obscured with Happ in my opinion. He is, as I noted, a former first-rounder and has impressed, at times, with his bat. We’ve all seen him play well, but right now, he’s not living up to even the lowest of expectations. Personally, I believe the thing with Happ is just his mechanics at the plate. He draws a good number of walks but it almost seems like he relies on that at times. Pitchers have adjusted, forcing him to slip behind in the count, which makes him try to protect with two strikes and ultimately results in a strikeout.
Out of all the players on this list, Happ is the one with the most potential to still turn it around. I think it’s important for Happ critics to remember he finished eighth in NL Rookie of the Year voting in 2017, which isn’t super close to winning the award but still worth nothing. He batted .253 that year, had a down year in 2018 batting .233, then rebounded nicely in 2019 with a .264 mark. In 2020, if we’re being honest, he was pretty much the best player on offense the Cubs had for a little while, until really cooling off at the end of the shortened season.
Now, Happ is back to falling way short of expectations in 2021. In fact, this has been his worst stretch of baseball through his tenure with the Cubs. Unlike Davies, Duffy or some of these guys that haven’t been with the team for years, Happ has shown flashes of what he can do. I would like to think that he wouldn’t be non-tendered at year’s end.
Given his stretches of success, I am sure a team would look to acquire him for cheap as he does have two more years of team control before this winter. If he can’t turn it around or find some level of consistency, though, it wouldn’t be surprising if management decided to go a different direction.