Happ is Like Schwarber, Heyward's Rehab, All-Star Distinction, and Other Bullets

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Happ is Like Schwarber, Heyward’s Rehab, All-Star Distinction, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

There goes Miguel Montero. The Cubs traded him this morning to the Toronto Blue Jays, who are now #good.

His unceremonious exit notwithstanding, I’ll remember Montero’s time with the Cubs fondly. Not only did he bust out the perfect #WeAreGood hashtag on his arrival, but he was a steady presence behind the plate for the Cubs for two and a half years, and he seemed to come up with some of the biggest hits I can remember. The two, of course, that we’ll always remember: the critical insurance run in the 10th inning of Game 7, and the most explosive grand slam in history.

  • With homers 11 and 12 yesterday, Ian Happ moved into a tie with Kyle Schwarber for third most on the team, behind only Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant. Pretty incredible when you consider that Happ started the season by smacking nine homers in AAA. The 22-year-old is now hitting .264/.331/.566 on the year with a 129 wRC+. His performance so far this year actually is very reminiscent of Kyle Schwarber’s partial year in 2015, then also just 22, and hitting .246/.355/.487 (132 wRC+). The main difference? Schwarber struck out less and Happ has hit for more power. How about that?
  • There have always been questions about defensive ability, but Joe Maddon can see a future for Ian Happ at second base, in terms of his defensive progress: “Honestly, from spring training, seeing him at second base, I did not think it was going to work,” Maddon confessed to the Tribune. “I’ll be the first one to tell you that. He’s proven me absolutely wrong. He’s done a very nice job. If you really work it all the way through the next couple years, he could be pretty good at second base.”
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
  • The Cubs have just one All-Star at this point, a deserving Wade Davis, and everyone seems to understand and respect that there are no other All-Stars thanks to an uneven and disappointing year all around (ESPN). Kris Bryant is in the Final Vote, but of course he’s up against other players who are also having excellent years.
  • Jason Heyward started his rehab assignment last night at South Bend, and had just two plate appearances (a walk and a single) before being switched out, which would not be uncommon for a rehab assignment. The timing was a bit strange, though, as it happened in the field, after the 4th inning had already started.
  • The expectation is that Heyward will play another game at South Bend tonight, and then perhaps we’ll see what’s what when the big league team kicks off its final first-half homestand tomorrow. It’s entirely possible that Heyward will return if he’s feeling well – I would assume, if he’s playing and taking BP, his hand is feeling OK, and it’s now just a matter of getting his rhythm back at the plate.
  • It’s also possible that Kyle Schwarber returns tomorrow. The outfielder/catcher is thumping at AAA, as the Cubs hoped he would, and one of his minor league hitting coaches says he looks completely comfortable like he did in 2015 (Des Moines Register). With the Cubs still in need of offense, and the All-Star break coming after a homestand this week, it might be an appropriate time to bring Schwarber back. We’ll see.
  • If last night was his final game in Iowa, he left some folks with a lasting memory:

  • The Iowa Cubs bullpen has been excellent (Carasiti is the guy they got in the Zac Rosscup trade, by the way):

  • Dubious indeed:

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.