Joe Maddon named one his four leadoff hitter options ahead of Spring Training, and we have seen just enough for the role. Ian Happ, when given the leadoff role 3 times, has seized the opportunity and has proved why he should be the leadoff hitter this year and end the experiment.
Happ showed promise in the leadoff spot in 2017 but if he bats from that number one spot he would need more patience. Spring Training so far has been a different case, and Happ has the patience to take the pitches and turn them into opportunities.
In 413 plate appearances as a rookie in 2017, Happ hit 24 home runs with a strong candidacy for NL Rookie of the Year. That award went to Cody Bellinger, but Happ remembers that and is bringing it into this season.
In 7 plate appearances in Spring Training this year, Happ has already belted two home runs each coming in his first at-bat of the game in the leadoff spot. Each has come from a Cubs win, and Ian Happ is taking nothing for granted and is making a fantastic case to be the leadoff hitter.
Happ has come through in the moments where the Cubs needed him to, in the first inning which was a struggle at times in 2017. Happ is looking crisp in that number one spot and out of four potential options for Joe Maddon’s leadoff hitter, he is certainly at the top after these performances.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) February 27, 2018