With the 9th Pick in the 2015 MLB Draft, the Cubs Take College Bat Ian Happ
Just like every other year in the Theo Epstein Era, the Cubs went with what they think is the best bat in second baseman and outfielder Ian Happ of Cincinnati. The switch-hitting Happ has a lot of experience as a hitter in college. He was also productive in the Cape Cod League, where hit .293 and .323 in 2013 and 2014. In addition, Happ had an OBP of .452 in 2014.
Happ’s bat plays better in the infield but not as much as an outfielder. He hit 11 HRs in his first two years combined at Cincinnati and 14 this year. Questions remain, however, about his defense.
Happ played mostly second base in 2013 and does have solid speed and arm strength, so a pro team could try him in the infield. But he lacks smooth infield actions, hasn’t played regularly on the dirt since his freshman year and fits best on an outfield corner.
While in the Cape Cod League, he displayed some — but not much — power with a wooden bat. He can hit, he can draw a walk, he gets on base, he has some speed; there is no doubt about his offense.
Baseball America says this of Happ’s strengths:
At the plate, Happ has fewer questions. A switch-hitter, he shows excellent bat speed from both batters’ boxes. He projects as a plus hitter with average power, and he’s an above-average runner, though he needs refinement on the bases.
I could see Happ sliding into the top 15 on the Cubs Top Prospect list. He would likely start out in Eugene this summer, as they start play next week. Then I could see him moving quickly to South Bend this year and starting out next year in Myrtle Beach. From there, we will see how his power plays in the infield.