With injuries piling up, the Chicago Cubs decided to promote top hitting prospect Ian Happ to provide a short-term boost to the lineup. He paid immediate dividends, connecting for a two-run home runs, but the Cubs still fell to the Cardinals, 5-3.
Happ, 22, was the ninth overall pick in the 2015 draft out of the University of Cincinnati. He’s been a standout hitter in the minors, moving through the Cubs system at a rapid pace. He garnered further attention through his performance in last year’s Arizona Fall League, and again in spring training, where he finished with five home runs and 21 RBIs in 60 at-bats.
Happ is off to a good start at Triple A this season, hitting an impressive .298/.362/.615 overall with nine homers in 116 plate appearances. That’s despite a thumb injury that cost him several games.
Happ’s promotion is expected to be brief with many of the Cubs ailments considered day-to-day.
Cubs needed reinforcements after Bryant got sick, Jay's back tightened and Zobrist's ongoing back issues reared again. And Russell still out
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) May 13, 2017
Then again, the same was said of Cody Bellinger’s April call up by the Dodgers. Three weeks later, Bellinger’s a fixture in the lineup and will likely stick with the club all season barring injury or a major slump.
If Happ hits, he’ll at least make a case for sticking around, or perhaps earn himself a promotion later this season. His defensive versatility is a plus too. Though typically a second baseman, he’s manning right field for the Cubs on Saturday. That’s one of several positions where he could be used.
Happ’s promotion probably wasn’t how the Cubs or Happ himself envisioned it. Like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber before him, a big promotion with lots of fanfare and anticipation seemed inevitable. Instead, it’s a last-minute decision made out of necessity more than anything.
That day will probably come for Happ eventually. For now, Cubs fans are just happy seeing “The Happening” happen.
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