Happ's Swing Improvements and Two-Strike Approach, Tunneling with Kyle, Dunking with Kris, and Other Bullets

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Happ’s Swing Improvements and Two-Strike Approach, Tunneling with Kyle, Dunking with Kris, and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

I came back from Spring Training to find that, in the week I was gone, The Littlest Girl has taken to saying “ma-ma-ma-ma” much more than “da-da-da-da.” I love it, of course, but I also had to put some work in to make sure she didn’t lose her affection for the second one!

Hey, so Mike Trout mania really pushed these babies back. If you missed it, Trout signed a MONSTER extension. Otherwise, the Bullets follow …

  • It doesn’t look like there will be any last minute changes to the Spring rotation, which means the Cubs will end Spring Training going Jon Lester,  Yu Darvish, Cole Hamels, Kyle Hendricks and Jose Quintana. That would still be your best guess for the order when the season opens in nine days.
  • Joe Maddon says Ian Happ’s swing is as good as he’s seen it, so that’s a good step toward correcting some of the contact issues he has faced in the big leagues. And, as a related but separate matter, Happ knows what he’s got to work on (Sun-Times): “I got to two strikes 65 percent of the time, which is 10-15 percent over league average, which is quite a bit. I think that had something to do with it. I get deep in counts, that’s why I walk a lot. So I don’t want to lose that part of my game. I think it’s more important to get on base than worry about striking out, so I think those, with experience in the league, they’ll come down on their own. Just have to do a better job with two strikes to put the ball in play.”
  • No question that’s part of the issue, but you also want to see Happ avoiding those two strike counts all together. He correctly notes that he saw them more than most, and no one does well once you get to two strikes; league averages: .179/.250/.280, 45 wRC+, 42.0% K rate. Happ, for his part, was even worse than league average in those situations, especially with the strikeouts: .127/.259/.229, 40 wRC+, 57.6% K rate.
  • In case you were curious, here’s how Happ looked last year when he was ahead in the count: .234/.439/.438, 140 wRC+, 26.5% BB rate(!), 30.7% K rate(!!!). That, to me, looks like a guy who just wasn’t quite making enough contact, and also wasn’t quite doing enough damage when he got himself into an advantageous position.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

  • As long as he’s being safe, this is hilarious:


  • Yesterday’s Bullets featured an image that I cannot unsee:


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.