No, Ian Happ – the Cubs first round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft – hasn’t moved quite as quickly as the 2014 first rounder (Kyle Schwarber) did a year prior, but he’s rocketing through the system all the same. Indeed, according to a tweet from the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, second baseman Ian Happ has just been promoted from High-A Myrtle Beach to Double-A Tennessee.
Check it out:
— MyrtleBeachPelicans (@Pelicanbaseball) June 23, 2016
Happ was selected ninth overall in the draft just one season ago, but is already making the jump to Double-A – which is widely considered one of the most difficult transitions in baseball. That said, he was already a polished college bat, so he was mostly expected to carve up the lower minors. And carve them up he did.
In 69 games (293 PAs) at High-A Myrtle Beach this year, Happ slashed .296/.410/.475 with a 16.4% walk rate and a 23.5% strikeout rate. You can quibble that his power (.179 ISO) was not as high as it should be for him, at that level, with that K-rate, but that’s really picking nits for a switch hitting infielder getting on base over 40% of the time. With Contreras slowly working towards losing his prospect status at the Major League level, Happ will soon be battling with Gleyber Torres for the top spot in the Cubs system overall.
Happ also joins Willson Contreras, Albert Almora, Gerardo Concepcion, Mark Zagunis and Jeimer Candelario among the most notable early season top prospect promotions. The Cubs have an individual plan for every player, but if you hit your marks and reach your goals, the promotion will come. He’ll now face the biggest challenge of his professional career, but I wouldn’t bet against him.