Top 2015 Chicago Cubs draft pick Ian Happ has been showing incremental progress as he advances through the minor leagues early in his professional career.
The latest step in his development? This mammoth home run he hit on Friday night on the road against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers:
Happ slashed .283/.408/.491/.898 with four home runs, eight doubles and 23 walks in 29 games (130 plate appearances) for short-season Eugene before being moved up to Low-A South Bend on July 25.
He has slashed .262/.304/.500/.804 with four extra-base hits (3 homers and a double), a .320 BABIP, 6.5 BB% and 32.6 K% in his last 10 games. Overall, Happ owns a .276/.376/.477/.853 slash with 7 home runs, 23 RBI, a .345 BABIP, 14.1 BB% and 24.4 K% in 205 PA in 46 minor league games.
The switch hitter who was drafted ninth overall out of the University of Cincinnati has hit five of his seven homers from the left side of the plate as he attempts to get acclimated to life in full-season A-ball. That includes yesterday’s smash and Thursday’s grand slam on Left Handers Day.
Check out what he had to say about hitting from the left side after Thursday’s five-RBI game:
I’ve done a good job using the whole field, especially from the left side. That’s something I’ve been working on. It’s just hitting the ball where it’s pitched. Lots of times, especially early in the count, pitchers try to use the outer half with their fastball.
Happ said his focus was on putting together good plate appearances and barreling up the ball, adding: “That’s baseball — you might end up with only one hit, but I had five good [plate appearances]. You just have to move on and keep hitting the ball hard.”
He is hitting .258 with a .467 slugging percentage in 140 plate appearances as a lefty against right-handed pitching, while hitting .315 with a .500 SLG in 65 PA as a right-handed batter against southpaws.
In the field, Happ has primarily played as an outfielder, logging 33 games in center, eight in left (17 chances, 17 putouts), and two in right (five chances, five putouts). Happ spent some time at second base at the University of Cincinnati, but hasn’t been placed there just yet.
Here is a brief look at Happ’s profile prior to June’s draft:
And in case you missed it, Happ ranks sixth on Luke’s Mid-Season Top 40 Prospects list.