Cubs getting consistency from Ian Happ - with one glaring exception

In the first year of his new contract, Cubs outfielder Ian Happ continues to deliver strong offensive numbers - but has room to improve in one key facet.
Baltimore Orioles v Chicago Cubs
Baltimore Orioles v Chicago Cubs / Nuccio DiNuzzo/GettyImages
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After a month-and-a-half power outage, Cubs outfielder Ian Happ slugged a pair of home runs in the team's London Series-opening blowout win over the Cardinals. His performance made me check in on how he's performed in the first year of the extension he signed this spring and, by and large, it's been more of the same from the former All-Star.

Happ, who now has seven long balls on the season, is up to an .816 OPS - outpacing his .781 mark from a year ago. His .386 on-base percentage would be a new career-high and if he can start tapping into that power stroke a bit more regularly, this Cubs offense could click into a higher level to close out the first half.

Cubs are getting another strong offensive season from Ian Happ

In the first half last season, Happ slashed .274/.364/.443 - and right now, he's at .268/.386/.430 - doing almost exactly what he did in 2022, when he earned his first Midsummer Classic nod. The big difference year-over-year is his work from the right side of the plate, where he's fallen short in to this point in 2023.

Last year, Happ really seemed to figure something out against lefties, outpacing his career marks by a wide margin. He turned in a .788 OPS from the right side of the plate, a mark that was actually better (by an admittedly narrow margin) than from the left side, which has historically been his preferred side.

This season, though, his OPS from the right side is down nearly 100 points - and he's managed just a .238 batting average against lefties. He's still getting on base at a .360 clip, a strong showing, but you'd like to see him punish some more mistakes when he's batting from the right side.

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Even with this shortcoming, Happ is doing everything the Cubs hoped for when they inked him to an extension that runs through 2026. Metrics haven't graded out his work in left all that favorably, but there's still been plenty to like about what he's brought to the table here in the first half.