You can’t combine big league and minor league statistics for much beyond “oh, hey, that’s neat,” so don’t take this for more than it is: between AAA and MLB this year, Ian Happ has 19 homers in just 60 games.
That’s pretty darn neat.
Yesterday, Happ hit his 10th big league homer in his 34th big league game, and his 5th in the last 9 days:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 22, 2017
Although that just barely got out, it was no cheapy: Happ hit the ball out at 111.5(!) mph, and it went 403 feet on a rope.
Saying that was Happ’s 10th big league homer in his 34th game doesn’t really do justice to the pace he’s been on, since he hasn’t started every game in which he’s appeared.
Let’s put it this way, instead, for context: that was Happ’s 10th homer in 129 plate appearances. Were he to get a full complement of plate appearances in a season (~650) and stay on this same pace, he would hit 50 home runs!
Yes, Ian Happ has been on a ridiculous homer pace this year.
Now, then, will his 34.5% HR/FB ratio last? No, no it will not. Even in an offensive environment where that figure is spiking to heights previously unseen, that’s an unsustainably high rate. But what if the strikeout rate comes down from 32.6% and more balls are put in play? What if he continues to improve his fly ball rate (which he’s done every year and at every level he’s played at)? Were those things to happen, Happ could still be hitting a whole lot of homers, even as his HR/FB ratio comes down.
I would, of course, not bet on Happ managing a 50-dinger pace the rest of this season. But I would like to compliment him on what has been a re-adjustment after the league adjusted to him.
Look at this:
Ian Happ's o-swing% and contact%
1st 11 games: 32.7%/60.2%
2nd 11 games: 36.4%/62.2%
3rd 11 games: 33.3%/74.4%
— FullCountTommy (@FullCountTommy) June 21, 2017
Keep on improving like that, and good things will come for a player who has as much natural power as Happ, and a willingness to take walks.