Even Whiff All Those Strikeouts, Ian Happ Was Still Good Offensively in 2018

While Ian Happ didn’t outperform his rookie season and underperformed most expectations, the Cubs’ super utility player still had a decent year offensively. Many hitters would gladly take Happ’s .329 wOBA and 106 wRC+ (i.e., six percent more run production than league average) for 2018.

I write this mostly as a reminder to myself that with a few adjustments and tweaks, Happ has the power and approach to become one of the most robust run producers in the league. If you ignore the glaring 36 percent whiff rate, the 24-year-old increased his walk rate from 9.2 percent in his rookie year to 15.2 percent while sustaining a well above-average ISO. But it’s hard to ignore the whiffs.

As Theo Epstein emphasized in his season-concluding press conference, it’s up to the incoming coaching staff to unearth Happ’s talent.

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Brendan Miller

Brendan Miller is the better looking and smarter part of the Cubs Related Podcast duo with Corey Freedman. Brendan, who has twice as many Twitter followers as Corey, often writes about baseball analytics and scouting for Cubs Insider.

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One Comment

  1. No doubt that Happ needs to become a more disciplined hitter. That will make the difference in him remaining an average major leaguer (which is crredible in and of itself) or if he becomes something special.
    But to place the burden for that almost entirely on coaches, that’s somewhat unfair.
    Yes, they can teach — as Chili Davis and others have done — but it’s also up to the pupil (the player) to absorb, be able to adjust, and adjust over and over again as pitchers figure out new elements of a player’s game.
    That becomes the difference of average to better than average.

    And, that still leavews open his defensive capabilities which, throughout his playing career, has been open to question.

    He’s an intelligent kid from all that I’ve read; so, if he cannot achieve Epstein’s lofty goals, it may be one of those things thhat just wasn’t meant to be.

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