An early bright spot in last night’s game, Ian Happ hit his 19th homer of the season.
Ian Happ takes the first pitch he sees over the fence to put the Cubs up early! pic.twitter.com/QSa7YddE0G
— Cubs Talk (@CSNCubs) August 24, 2017
Interestingly, the shot was a good demonstration of why Great American Ballpark seems so homer friendly:
— Cubs Exit Velocity (@cubsexitvelo) August 24, 2017
That ball was not absolutely crushed, which is not to take anything away from Happ – not every homer is going to be a monster blast, and the dude has plenty of power. Per ESPN’s Home Run Tracker, that particular ball would have left only 10 other ballparks.
With one more homer, Happ will join the 20-homer contingent of Cubs, which already includes Anthony Rizzo (28), Kris Bryant (23), Willson Contreras (21), Kyle Schwarber (21), and Javy Baez (20). Hey, if you count Happ’s nine homers at AAA to start the season, it’s like he’s tied with Anthony Rizzo for the team lead.
After a post-All-Star-break slump, Happ is once again scorching hot, hitting .260/.350/.640 this month.
On the year, the rookie is hitting .249/.326/.520 with a 115 wRC+. The strikeout rate has stayed elevated (30.1%), but that figures to improve with more experience. Happ’s walk rate (9.4%) and ISO (.271) already hint at a special hitter, especially given how little minor league experience he had, and the fact that he only just turned 23 this month.
This is a young man who was just coming out of the draft as the Cubs’ top pick two years ago. Look how far he’s come in such a short time.