Cubs Minor League Daily: Ian Happ Returns To Iowa

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Cubs Minor League Daily: Ian Happ Returns To Iowa

Chicago Cubs

Ian Happ is back off the disabled list, having been on there with a thumb issue. He has been activated for Iowa, and came off the bench to play some right field for the I-Cubs in yesterday’s loss.

Happ is also at roughly the 100 PA mark, so we can take a look at his numbers and see how he is doing. On the good side, Happ already has 8 home runs and a wRC+ of 131. His walk rate is very good at 11.5%, his OPS is a robust .907.

On the other hand, his home runs per fly ball rate is 30.8%, over twice what he usually posts, and far higher than you would expect to see, even for a prolific home run hitter. In other words, his home run pace is pretty much unsustainable. His line drive percentage, 16.4%, is at a career low. Happ is getting a lot of balls in the air, and an oddly high number of them have been happening to go out of the yard this year, but in general he isn’t making as much hard contact as he usually does. When his HR/FB rate regresses to his norm, it is probably going to look like he is going into a slump.

Right now, the best thing for Happ would probably be to stay in Iowa and continue to get his work in. His defense remains a work in progress, but even at the plate I don’t think he is quite ready to go. If some of those fly balls start falling into gloves instead of bleachers, and I think they will, Happ’s line will quickly shift from awesome to pretty good. And I don’t think pretty good is quite the bar the Cubs are looking for when they decide when he is ready to head to the major leagues.

Besides, I very much suspect that when the Cubs do call Iowa for a bat, Jeimer Candelario will be the name they call.

Triple A: Iowa Cubs
Memphis 10, Iowa 1
Getting clobbered by the Redbirds is the worst kind of clobbering.

Double A: Tennessee Smokies
Tennessee 9, Jacksonville 2
Hedges pitched another good game.

Jacksonville 3, Tennessee 0
Tennessee out hit Jacksonville.

High A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Buies Creek 12, Myrtle Beach 6
Pelicans pitching coughed up seven home runs.

Low A: South Bend Cubs
Clinton 11, South Bend 9
Clinton and South Bend swaped big innings a couple of times in this one.

Other Notes

  • Catcher Ian Rice is off to a very good start this season. Through 26 games for Tennesee Rice is hitting .311/.462/.541 with more walks (17) than strikeouts (15). His three home runs are nice too.
  • One of the worst parts of the current draft rules is the impact on college seniors. Seniors have no leverage, so teams (including the Cubs) try to sign them for peanuts in the later slots of the first ten rounds to save bonus money to go over slot on younger players earlier (or later) in the draft. It is a thorny problem to solve, but without anyone representing amateur players at the negotiating table during collective bargaining agreements, it may be a long time before anything changes.

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Author: Luke Blaize

Luke Blaize is the Minor League Editor at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @ltblaize.