A couple of notable Cubs prospects have been doing some serious damage with their bats lately, so it’s time to share some of that destruction and give them their due love. The two prospects in particular are switch-hitting second baseman Ian Happ and lefty first baseman Dan Vogelbach.
Let’s start with the Cubs’ 2015 first round draft pick.
Although Happ has been in the Cubs organization for less than a year, he was just promoted to the Double-A Tennessee Smokies late last week. After hitting .296/.410/.475 in High-A with a walk rate (16.5%) that indicated he was a bit advanced for the level, the Cubs decided to stay aggressive with their polished college bats. Well, Happ has been in Double-A for a grand total of five games and already, he has hit two home runs.
Check out his most recent one from yesterday:
Hitting from the left side of the plate, Happ crushes his second homer of the season to give the Smokies a 3-0 lead in the third. Although it’s mostly meaningless because of the small sample size, Happ’s season line is now up to .733/.706/1.267, as he has eleven hits in his first fifteen at bats (with just one strikeout). It’s far too early to tell if Happ will handle the Southern League as well as he’s handled every other challenge in his career, but it is fair to say he’s off to a great start. I don’t suspect he’ll be promoted to Triple-A before the end of the season, but it appears he’s doing everything he can to try.
And then there’s Dan Vogelbach.
Vogelbach has been something of an enigma for Cubs fans over the years. A lefty slugger forever blocked at the Major League level by Anthony Rizzo, Vogelbach has never had a clear path to the show. Even still, that hasn’t stopped him from getting on base at brilliant levels, showing an advanced approach at the plate and, well, hitting baseballs really, really far:
In the first pitch of his at-bat, Vogelbach sends that ball the other way and over the wall in left field to cut the I-Cubs deficit down to three. More impressively, that homer was the 15th on the season for Vogelbach and his third in the past three games! His season slash line is now up to a lofty .313/.428/.565 – the best for his career (since his 37 games at Low-A) at the highest level he’s yet reached.
His future role on the Chicago Cubs is still murky at best, but for now, the Cubs should be thrilled to have him mashing in the Minors. As we’ve seen countless times already this season, unexpected injuries happen and talented depth in the upper minors is frequently called upon. Vogelbach, it seems, would be an exciting piece to call upon if it came to that.