3 Cubs who have to be successful for the team to win in 2022
3 Cubs who have to be successful for the team to win: #2 – Ian Happ
The key for Ian Happ in 2022 boils down to one word: consistency. Allow me to tread on the optimistic side here. Although Happ has definitely had his ups and downs, the fact that he has been so red hot multiple times in his career proves in itself that he’s capable of big things.
In 2019, Happ started in Triple-A Iowa after being demoted coming out of spring training. However, once he came back up to the majors, he slashed a respectable .264/.333/.564 with a 126 wRC+ and .300 ISO. In fact, Happ caught serious fire to end the year in September/October with a .311/.348/.672 and 1.021 OPS, .361 ISO and 154 wRC+ in 61 ABs.
Moving ahead to 2020, Happ started the shortened season picking up where he left off in 2019 with a .302/.439/.630 slash to go along with a 182 wRC+ and .337 ISO in his first 86 at-bats. Against righties, Happ had a 140 wRC+ and .300 ISO on the season. However, he fell off dramatically in the second half of the year, finishing with a .237/.320/.439 line down the stretch.
He carried that cold finish with him into the 2021 season – starting off in brutal fashion. Happ slashed just .183/.296/.330 with a 73 wRC+ before rebounding nicely with a .268/.350/.536 line in the second half. Most of that came from another September to remember when he lit it up to the tune of .317/.405/.615 in just over 100 at-bats to close out the year.
As you can see, Happ is either white hot or in a deep freeze. At least three times through his career, we’ve seen Happ go on All-Star-caliber stretches. Although it seems like his struggles are so bad when they occur that he may not remain on the team for much longer, it’s important to note that those prolonged slumps that we’ve all seen have also been countered with solid hot streaks that see Happ swinging like one of the best hitters in baseball.
So, like I said, this year is all about consistency. You really cannot overstate how important that is to Happ’s long-term success both in Chicago and at the big league level. The Cubs cannot have another three months of Lake Michigan in January cold from Happ followed by random stretches of him batting .300+.