A year ago, by late July, Ian Happ was hitting just .175/.286/.315/67 wRC+. The strikeouts were still an issue. The walks were declining. The power wasn’t there. And the quality of contact was abysmal. It was a concerning time for fans, and presumably for a very talented player who had been through a lot of ups and downs already in his big league career.
Since that day, Happ has hit .280/.368/.501/136 wRC+ over a near calendar year.
Now, Ian Happ is an All-Star.
One of the most productive outfielders in the National League this year, Happ deserves the accolade, and he also deserves to feel pretty darn emotional about it. From Cubs.com:
Ross delivered the news Sunday that Happ was named a National League All-Star reserve, the first time the six-year player had been so honored. The room erupted in applause. Happ broke into tears.
“It’s just years of hard work and everything that goes into it,” Happ said of his emotions. “You think of all the people that have helped along the way: family, friends. I got super emotional talking to my family. I don’t know. It hasn’t set in, but I don’t know if I can contain those [emotions] much.”
Happ will be an All-Star teammate with Willson Contreras, who was named starting catcher on Friday.
“He told me a couple of days ago, when I was able to announce Willson, that if he happens to make the team, don’t tell him in front of everybody because he will cry like a baby,” Ross said. “So I couldn’t wait to give the news in front of everybody. That’s how it works.”
That is how it works, and I’m good with it.
It’s also nice to be reminded how many people these things can impact so closely. Congrats to Happ AND his family on a very well-deserved honor: