Chicago Cubs prospect Ian Happ opened the 2017 season at AAA Iowa after spending just a half season at each of High-A and AA next year. It was an aggressive assignment for the 2015 first rounder, but the Cubs clearly liked what they saw developmentally in the fall and spring, and their decision was apparently justified by the tear he went on to kick things off with Iowa.
Unfortunately, Happ then started dealing with a bruised left thumb before hitting the disabled list at the end of April, putting his breakout on pause. He returned for a partial game on Sunday, and then a full game yesterday.
So, naturally, he homered:
Everyone loves a pulled monster shot, but when looking at a prospect, I probably get way more excited about a homer like that: he stays on a ball on the outer half, and drives it out the opposite way to left center field. That’s real, playable power right there.
The versatile 22-year-old played second base and left field in the game, but he’s also seen time in center field, and is taking grounders at third base as well (Des Moines Register). Happ’s line is up to .264/.340/.604, and his nine homers are second in the Pacific Coast League.
Happ is one of the Cubs’ top prospects, and figures to contribute at the big league level as soon as the second half of this season if a need develops.