Will All-Star Ian Happ be the latest Cubs first-rounder to get traded?

Joshua Burt
(Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Cubs drafted Ian Happ in the first round (#9 overall) in the 2015 draft out of the University of Cincinnati. He ended up making his Major League debut in 2017. Happ has struggled with consistency in his career, bouncing from bench player to starter – even getting demoted back to Triple-A at one point. But now, for the first time in his career, he’s an All-Star.

During his six-year career, he has watched several fellow teammates and former first-rounders earn All-Star honors Kyle Schwarber (2014), Kris Bryant (2013) and Javier Baez (2011) were all drafted in the first round by the Cubs and have at least one Midsummer Classic on their respective resumes. He can now claim to be in that decorated group, as well.

However, the other three individuals were shipped out of town in the hopes of rebuilding a new championship-winning core. The 27-year-old switch-hitting outfielder needed to step up for the organization. His manager, David Ross, recently spoke to the Sun-Times about what he’s brought to the table here in 2022.

"‘‘[Happ] has been as consistent of a player as I’ve ever seen him be,’’ Ross said. ‘‘And the fact that he gets rewarded for that, being an All-Star, he’s deserving of that. I think he’s upped his game — not just offensive numbers, but his defense, his baserunning. His all-around game has been stellar.’’"

Unfortunately, his manager is not the only one paying attention to Happ’s hard work. He has been in the middle of trade rumors for the past couple of weeks. The Cubs organization is in the middle of a painful re-building process and may capitalize on the outfielder’s recent success by moving him.

Cubs have a tough decision to make when it comes to Ian Happ’s future

Happ entered Saturday’s doubleheader with tied for the fifth-most fWAR among qualified NL outfielders and has already handily surpassed his previous single-season high of 1.9 fWAR. Bringing a more balanced approach to the dish and dramatically cutting down on the strikeouts has the outfielder in the midst of a career year, despite the team’s underwhelming performance.

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Happ will be joining teammate Willson Contreras for the 2022 All-Star Game in Los Angeles this upcoming weekend as the North Siders’ two representatives. It’s too early to tell if both individuals will be wearing the same uniform after the trade deadline on Aug. 2. For now, enjoy them both while they are wearing the blue pinstripes – because it might not last for much longer.