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MLB Rookie Profile: Ian Happ, INF-OF, Chicago Cubs

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Cubs promote switch-hitting masher Ian Happ to the majors

MLB: Spring Training-Chicago Cubs at Colorado Rockies Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs will promote infielder/outfielder Ian Happ to the major league roster today, and he’s slated to start Saturday’s game in right field. Addison Russell, Kris Bryant, Jon Jay, and Ben Zobrist are all dealing with various physical maladies and another bat is needed. Let’s take a quick look at Happ.

The Cubs drafted Ian Happ in the first round in 2015 from the University of Cincinnati. Considered one of the top bats available in that draft class, he hit .279/.365/.445 with 15 homers last year between High-A and Double-A and was off to a good start in 2017, batting .298/.362/.615 for Triple-A Iowa.

Happ ranked fourth on the pre-season Chicago Cubs Top 20 prospects for 2017 list with the following comment:

4) Ian Happ, 2B, Grade B+/B: Age 22, first round pick in 2015; hit .279/.365/.445 with 15 homers, 16 steals, 68 walks, 129 strikeouts in 488 at-bats between High-A and Double-A; polished hitter with solid-average power who should provide high OBPs; performed adequately at second base after being drafted as an outfielder; could use another year to iron out the fielding. ETA: 2018.

His strong start in Triple-A and Chicago’s roster needs moved up that timetable. I’d boost him up to a Grade B+ now, given the surge in isolated power this year.

Happ is a switch-hitter, listed 6-0, 205, born August 12, 1994. His feel for the strike zone and above-average power from both sides of the plate draw deserved praise. The main question for Happ has been defense. His defensive tools and reactions are marginal for second base, but he’s worked hard to improve and could be playable there if he hits as expected. Happ has experience at all three outfield positions and has a pretty good arm. He has looked more comfortable in left than right, though he’ll be in right today.

Wherever his glove winds up long-term, there are few doubts about his bat.