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Has Ian Happ Forced a Permanent Change at the Top of the Cubs’ Lineup and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs News

The big kids earned some new Legos yesterday, which was a fun process of picking out at the toy store. When we got home, although The Little Girl was eager and fastidious in putting together her Moana set, The Little Boy mostly played with Donatello as I put together his Ninja Turtles set. You know what, though? It was nice to put that thing together as he watched and played around.


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  • Have we seen an official change of the lineup? Ben Zobrist led off yesterday, with Kyle Schwarber batting second. Joe Maddon suggested to the Tribune that the change was more about now having Ian Happ available to hit behind (and protect) Anthony Rizzo than about dropping Schwarber from the leadoff spot, specifically. Yes, but is that lineup going to stick going forward? Maddon told ESPN: “K.B. liked the three-hole, it looked like. [The lineup] had a nice rhythm to it, I thought. It stretched out a little bit farther.” I’d say there’s a better than average chance we see that lineup again tonight against the Giants, especially with a lefty (Ty Blach) going.
  • After another two-hit day, Ian Happ’s numbers for his first week of big league action are just silly: .346/.452/.731, with a 203 wRC+. That’s through just 31 plate appearances, of course, and we’re going to see pitchers increasingly able to adjust to perceived holes in his swing (he has already seen the strikeout rate creeping up to 25.8%), but he’s still scalding the ball. Statcast did not log Happ’s two doubles yesterday (I did see an account that tracks “barrels” indicate that one of the doubles was 108 mph, and it wouldn’t surprise me if both were well over 100 mph), but of his previous 15 batted balls, he already had three that were over 100 mph, and another five over 90 mph. It is for that reason that his BABIP is a lofty .385. It likely won’t stay up in that range, but the dude is ripping the ball when he makes contact.
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
  • Speaking of Happ, this is just plain cool:

  • About the non-rain rainout on Saturday and the Brewers’ suggestions of impropriety about the same, Jed Hoyer told the Tribune the Cubs simply had a bad forecast. “There was no reason we didn’t want to play yesterday from a baseball standpoint,” Obviously we got the forecast wrong. That goes without saying. But why would we not want to play?”

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  • Paul Sullivan writes about whether Theo Epstein would ever make the leap to the NFL to try his hand there, but Epstein believes you’ve gotta spend upwards of 10 years in a game before you can develop the necessary instincts.
  • A local read out of Myrtle Beach on Eloy Jimenez’s return to the team, and how he just wants to help his team win. He also says he’s still getting back up to speed against the fastball – a reminder that Jimenez is hitting .320/.433/.560 so far this season with a 10.0% strikeout rate. (Jimenez departed the game early yesterday, though it didn’t come immediately after any kind of play in the field or at the plate.)
  • The other top prospect the Cubs’ signed in their vaunted 2013-14 IFA class, Gleyber Torres continues his rapid ascent since the Cubs dealt him last summer in the Aroldis Chapman deal. Torres, just 20, has been promoted to AAA after a great stint at AA to open the year. Good for him.

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  • The Cubs’ bullpen has given us an incredible GIF:

  • This is totally random, but caught up in his injury woes and slow start with the Royals, I missed that Jorge Soler hit the second longest homer in baseball this year. His numbers, though, are quite not good (and it’s a lot of the same, frustrating stuff: decent K/BB, hitting the ball hard, but no BABIP). Meanwhile, Wade Davis has yet to give up an earned run through 17.1 innings.
  • If you missed it this morning, Luke checked in on the farm system and also noted a great charity auction the Myrtle Beach Pelicans will be kicking off next week.

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  • It honestly took me a second to properly see who and how this ball was caught (Dee Gordon is lucky he didn’t get flattened):


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Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation.