Yesterday, Ian Happ drove in two of the Cubs’ four runs, and scored the other two, only a day after striking out four times. The ups and downs of young players, eh?
It’s easy to forget that Happ only just turned 23 this month, and came to the big leagues after just one full professional season in the minor leagues. He forced his own arrival with a stellar offseason, Spring Training, and start at AAA, but that does obscure the fact that this is a guy in his age 22 season who played only 91 games above A-ball before becoming a key bat for a big league playoff contender.
That is to say, ups and downs should very much be expected, and the ups should very much be applauded.
Like yesterday, when Happ had a big game, including his 18th homer of the season (The full video is here at MLB.com):
— TheRenderMLB (@TheRenderMLB_) August 19, 2017
I was in the right field bleachers for that one, and it was a particularly fun opposite field shot, because it was loud, it was immediately gone off the bat, and it got out in a hurry. I knew before looking that it was going to be one that was huge on exit velocity, and low on launch angle, because it was just a dang rocket.
— Cubs Exit Velocity (@cubsexitvelo) August 19, 2017
That is a freaking shot, especially when you consider that it went to the opposite field. Happ has serious power.
And he also now has a seriously cool footnote for that homer:
Ian Happ: 18th career HR in 80th game.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 19, 2017
On the year, Happ is hitting .249/.321/.517 (113 wRC+), with his strikeout rate juuuuuust under 30% (29.9%).
As for the ups and downs, Happ has the right attitude (CSN): “The game ebbs and flows all the time. That’s why it’s a beautiful game and a terrible game at the same time. You’re going to have your good weeks, your bad weeks, good days, bad days. Being able to stay even and keep fighting through it is important.”