Good Days and Bad Days, Establishing Happ, Fun in the Absence of Sports, and Other Cubs Bullets

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Good Days and Bad Days, Establishing Happ, Fun in the Absence of Sports, and Other Cubs Bullets

Chicago Cubs

There are going to be good days and bad days with this stuff. I don’t mean the actual reality of the situation – I know there are bad days comings, and I hope the good days follow soon behind. Instead, I mean our relationship to the situation. We’re all gonna have good days and bad days.

It’s been a bad couple days for me. But I can see that. I know that it won’t last forever, and my feelings will change at some point. Keep eating well. Drinking water. Getting exercise. Trying to limit consumption of certain chunks of news (you aren’t going to find some miracle “solution” to your anxiety in the next article you read, Brett). Otherwise do what you can to preserve a sense of good process – like writing these Bullets.

  • Sahadev Sharma and Patrick Mooney have a string of thoughts on all things Cubs at this time, and it’s one of those nice, dive-headlong things that’ll positively distract you:

  • I’ve gotta highlight the Ian Happ discussion, not only because it feels so right to us around here, but because it was one of the drums named and unnamed Cubs execs were beating in the offseason: they really believe Happ developed enormously last year thanks to the way his season played out.
  • Among Sharma and Mooney’s comments:

“In a tick over 1,000 plate appearances for his career, Happ has a 112 wRC+ (league average is 100). Through his first 1,267 plate appearances (2014-17), Báez had an 89 wRC+. In his first 1,211 plate appearances (2011-13), Rizzo had a 103 wRC+. Entering last season, Kyle Schwarber had 1,274 plate appearances and a 113 career wRC+ and he looked like he turned a corner in 2019. Baseball is littered with players who go through ups and downs early in their careers before making necessary adjustments and finding some consistency.

So why should we believe that Happ has the potential to be added to that list? The switch-hitting center fielder spent the majority of last season honing his craft at Triple-A Iowa. He made real changes to his two-strike approach and slight tweaks to his mechanics. It wasn’t a month in the minors or an offseason working on these changes. It was significant time spent struggling through a change that he needed to fully embrace.

Happ appears to have done that. Not only did the numbers from his 58 games in 2019 impress — his strikeout rate dipped over 10 percentage points to 25 percent and he delivered a 127 wRC+ — but it looked like there was a carryover effect this spring. Happ didn’t chase the high heat as much, and when he did, he seemed to mentally take note of it and adjust in subsequent plate appearances.”

  • The three of us also did a fresh podcast, so subscribe on Apple Podcasts or wherever else you get ’em:

  • I lol’d, which is a precious thing right now:

  • This is very important stuff right here:

  • … though I hate that it has only finally reached the kind of groundswell of support it needed for change at the same time of a global pandemic that threatens to fundamentally alter the operations of minor league baseball.
  • As long as you’re keeping appropriate social distance (a reminder that the CDC advises six feet to limit possibility of transmission), this is good sports-related fun in the absence of sports:

  • Speaking of sports-related fun in the absence of sports:

  • If you’re working with kids at this time and want some more non-screen, kinda-random things to do, might I suggest an oldy but a goody? Where’s Waldo books are legit still fun for kids of a range of ages, and I kinda forgot that they aren’t solely finding Waldo. Surprising amount of different things you can look for and make up your own ways to play with the kids. I’m getting us some more.


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.