Five Chicago Cubs that need to get it together – #3: Ian Happ
Another player currently underperforming as a whole but recently knocking the cover off the baseball is Ian Happ. Happ’s tenure with the Cubs has been a long stretch of “is this guy good or is he bad?”
Happ, who was drafted out of Cincinnati in the first round of the 2015 draft, has really shown flashes of how good he can be, coupling those instances with flashes of, well, not so good. Happ, like Heyward, has been red-hot lately with a stretch of 9-for-21 entering play Sunday before going 0-for-4 in the season finale against the Chicago White Sox.
After a 2017 that showed mighty promise for Happ, he followed up leaving fans wondering what happened to him in 2018 where he hit just .233. As most remember, the former first-rounder started 2019 in Triple-A Iowa where he came back to the big league club later in the year and seemingly got it back together where he slashed .264/.333/.564 in 140 at-bats. In 2020, Happ batted .258 but was red hot for the majority of the year until ultimately slumping at the end of the 60-game season, finishing 18th in National League MVP voting.
This year, Happ has spent most of the season as the worst version of himself, hitting just .201/.302/.380 with 16 home runs and 41 RBI. As a former first-round draft pick, Happ needs to find his common ground. He plays multiple positions but is not the best defender in the league. He has gotten a lot better in the outfield. The peaks and valleys of Ian Happ need be no more.
Happ will enter his second year of arbitration next season and therefore will still be reasonably cheap. He has time to get it together but needs to finish the season strong to provide the front office with some confidence moving forward.