Happ's Versatility in Action, Injury Recoveries, Creating Spin, and Other Bullets

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Happ’s Versatility in Action, Injury Recoveries, Creating Spin, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

Oh yeah, baby, writing from the Costco parking lot because I dropped off The Little Girl at school and miscalculated the timing of my errands this morning and also I have to pee like whoa because I already drank a lot of coffee and at what point do I become desperate enough to

  • Ian Happ talked to MiLB.com about a few things, and I especially appreciated his response to a question about his utility role: “It’s something I’ve done my whole career, but for sure learning it at the big league level is a little bit different. Just the speed of the game, understanding different teams and different runners and the analytics of the positioning.” You often fail to think about (or at least I do) how being the very best at a given position not only requires all the physical ability and practice, but it also requires a compendium of knowledge about all the batters in the league, how your pitcher will be working them, how your positioning should subtly change throughout a count, how your readiness relates to that particular hitter, etc. Sure, your coaches can help you with some of that on the fly, but the best of the best have all of that in their back pocket. And having all of that knowledge as it is applied at multiple positions? That’s a tall developmental ask. For that reason alone, it’s conceivable you’d notice defensive improvement this year for Happ.
  • That said, if Happ is going to be even a semi-regular leadoff hitter for the Cubs this year, he’ll have to keep playing all over defensively to stay in the lineup.
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
  • Tyler Chatwood was doing some practicing in his start yesterday, telling Cubs.com that he was working on his curveball, throwing it at times when he wouldn’t otherwise. He just wants to get the feel for it. Given the potential importance of that curveball, I say you work on it as much as you want.
  • You saw the good news about Javy Baez’s early departure from yesterday’s game, and it sounds like his replacement’s departure – Chesny Young collided with Anthony Rizzo (a battle Young will lose every time) – was just precautionary (Cubs.com).
  • Pedro Strop was able to throw a bullpen yesterday as he comes back from a calf issue (Cubs.com), but he’s still not scheduled to make a game appearance yet. If he’s throwing bullpens, I wouldn’t be too concerned just yet about him not being ready for the start of the season. As long as he has time to get in a couple Spring Training appearances, that should probably be sufficient for a guy like Strop.
  • Joe Maddon explains, in depth, his thinking with the bullpen decisions from the 2016 World Series. I don’t want to rehash it AGAIN, so I’ll just leave it there for you to read if interested.
  • I enjoyed this Tribune read on the Cubs’ back-up closer options (it’s basically everyone, according to Joe Maddon) in large part because it reminded me how Steve Cishek first got his opportunity to close for the Marlins: it was when then-closer Leo Nunez didn’t show up for work … because he’d just been outed as not Leo Nunez, but Juan Carlos Oviedo.
  • Women working their way up in Chicago baseball front offices.
  • Creating spin:

  • I understand everything with the bullpen decision, but I have to agree that it stings a bit no longer seeing things like this:

  • Don’t block my view of Schwarber:

  • Same:

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.