Looking back at the last 10 years of Cubs spring training standouts
Chicago Cubs spring training MVPs of years past: 2016 – Too many options
Look, I tried. I really tried! A bunch of players were good this spring, and there was no standout amongst them. Take a look at these stats: Kris Bryant and Munenori Kawasaki led the team in hits with 18, Addison Russell hit six home runs, Bryant and Jason Heyward both drove in 14 runs.
Meanwhile, Matt Szczur, Miguel Montero, Jeimer Canderlario and Anthony Rizzo all had an OPS above 1.000. Not to mention the pitching, where Jon Lester had a 2.12 ERA and Kyle Hendricks struck out 30 batters with a 1.08 WHIP. All pretty solid, don’t you think?
Did they sustain it?
You may not know this, but the Cubs won the World Series in 2016. So, in a word, yes.
Chicago Cubs spring training MVPs of years past: 2017 – Ian Happ
As we wrote at the time, Happ didn’t have the most auspicious start to his 2017 spring. Beginning preseason with a middling .250/.250/.375 slash line (at least the numbers look aesthetically pleasing when you ignore context), he went on a tear to wrap up the campaign, finishing with an excellent line of .383/.441/.750. More than that, he led the club with 12 extra base hits and 21 RBI. Happ also, to use a technical term, hit dingers.
Did he sustain it?
If you asked this question in May of 2017, the answer would have undoubtedly been yes. 6 games into his major league career (what do you mean small sample size?), Happ was hitting as well as Bryce Harper, after starting the season in AAA due to a log-jam in the middle infield. He regressed towards the mean in the back half of the year, finishing up with a .253 average while hitting 24 home runs. Pretty good, but he also struck out in over 30% of his plate appearances. While he didn’t live up to his lofty Spring Training stats, by no means did Happ have a disappointing rookie year.