The Cubs scored their winning run last night in the 11th inning on a Taylor Davis double, which earned him a stare down in the EBS, but the team’s first run came all the way back in the first inning on a solo shot by Ian Happ.
Here’s the blast:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) September 29, 2017
It’s been a monster rookie campaign, indeed, especially when you consider the context.
Happ, who just turned 23 last month, was a 2015 draft pick. He had one full professional season before 2017, and played just 26 games at AAA, and fewer than 100 above High-A, before coming to the big leagues. That he was ready to come up and hit .253/.328/.511 (112 wRC+) in a playoff race in his rookie season is truly impressive.
Also impressive: that was his 23rd big league homer this season, and his 32nd overall between MLB and AAA.
Sure, he’ll have some things to work on next season – the 31.6% strikeout rate will really crush him if the BABIP (.321) doesn’t stay elevated – but the bones are there for a very, very good big league hitter, especially when you consider the adjustments he’s been making constantly this season.
Where does he play next year? Ah, that’s a fun offseason discussion, isn’t it?
Happ’s 23 homers is the 8th most by a rookie this season, and none of the 7 guys ahead of him have fewer than his 402 plate appearances.