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Where Would the Cubs Be Without Ian Happ? And Other Bullets

Analysis and Commentary, Chicago Cubs News

Busy morning, eh? Kyle Schwarber is coming back, John Lackey is going to the DL, and the first-place Brewers are coming to town for a one-game makeup.


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The Cubs, having won yesterday, are back to .500 for the 19th time this season. The back-and-forth has been miserably incredible this year, and you simply hope that when they break away from .500 today – barring a tie! – it is in the right direction.

  • Where would the Cubs be without Ian Happ? Having now been through a couple adjustment periods, arguably a half year or more ahead of schedule, Happ is hitting .269/.337/.569 with a 132 wRC+. Although the strikeout rate and swinging strike rates persist at levels you don’t want to see (31.2% and 17.4%, respectively), his BABIP is not crazy (.340), and his hard contact rate is way up there (32.4%). Happ’s wRC+ trails only Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant on the Cubs, and only barely – they are each at 135.
  • More love for Happ here at ESPN, including a unique compliment from his General Manager, Jed Hoyer: “One of the best things about Ian is he does have a chip on his shoulder, but he carries it well. He wants to prove people wrong. He believes in himself. This guy is a good athlete. That was the talk around the draft. If he’s an athlete and is willing to work, he can be a good defender.” If Happ really does develop and emerge as an average or better defender, be it at second base or in center field (or both), then the bar required for his bat lowers so much. And if the bat stays where it is? He instantly becomes an incredibly valuable player.

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(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
  • In a bench and spot-starting role – exactly what was envisioned for him when the team signed him last fall – Jon Jay has hit .305/.382/.409 (111 wRC+). That’s fantastic, and, more importantly, doesn’t necessarily mean he needs to play more; in contrast, it arguably means he’s been used just right.
  • Since his blowup against Colorado on June 10, Pedro Strop has allowed just two earned runs in 9.0 innings, striking out 13 and walking 3. Having “good” Pedro Strop back makes you feel a whole lot better about the final three innings of a given game, because then the Cubs have more than just a couple options for bridging innings 7 and 8.
  • It’s a credit to Cubs scouting, and the organization did have to give up value to acquire Miguel Montero a few years ago (and Montero did provide value to the Cubs), and hey, you have to give credit to the Diamondbacks for developing him, but … dang: Zack Godley has a 2.58 ERA, a 3.11 FIP, and a 3.39 xFIP for the D-Backs this year. The Cubs drafted Godley in the 10th round in 2013 as a senior signing type – an inspired pick – but I doubt even they saw him eventually breaking out as an excellent big league starting pitcher.

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  • I hope the Cubs don’t have to postpone today’s game:

  • Welp, I won’t sleep tonight:


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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.