Cubs News: Ian Happ sent to minors
|Saturday, March 23, 2019, 6:58 PM- -|
The Chicago Cubs announced that 24-year old outfielder Ian Happ will start the season in the minors as he will be optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters on Saturday that they don't have enough at-bats to give to Happ.
"We just want to make sure he gets down there and gets a lot of consistent at-bats, especially from the left side," Maddon said. "Obviously, we consider him a huge part of our future, but just based on the conclusion of last year and what we're seeing at this point this year, we think it's really important that that would happen that way."
Maddon said that Happ took the news hard.
"He's not happy and he shouldn't be happy," he said. "He was surprised. I really don’t blame him."
Happ had a difficult spring batting only .135 with 14 strikeouts showing that his struggles in 2018 were carrying over to 2019. He batted only .233 with 15 homers and 44 RBIs last season. After the All-Star break, he had a dismal .196 batting average.
The Cubs will try to get his bat going so he can regain his confidence that led him to have a fairly successful rookie season in which he bashed 24 homers in only 115 games. He has played in 257 games the last two seasons with the North Siders.
According to ESPN's Jesse Rogers, Happ owns the worst two strikeout percentages in a single season in Cubs history with a minimum of 400 at-bats.
Albert Almora Jr. will probably get a few more at-bats in centerfield with Happ being demoted to Triple-A. The Cubs will be fine with their outfielder depth with Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward, Albert Almora Jr., Kris Bryant, Ben Zobrist, and others able to fill in.
Happ's demotion could lead to an extra spot for a reliever with some decent options available.
In other Cubs roster news, Junichi Tazawa was granted his release today and pitcher Alec Mills was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
Joe said Happ took it hard. They want him to play everyday and get back when he’s ready. Really has struggled from the left side a lot last year and in camp. And that’s his better side.— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) March 23, 2019
Not surprised that the Cubs sent Ian Happ to the Class AAA. he had a rough spring at the plate. Solid prospect but he needs to find himself at the plate.— David Kaplan (@thekapman) March 23, 2019
Maddon on Happ optioned to Iowa: pic.twitter.com/GXgqZBlDXx— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) March 23, 2019
Teammates are finding out about Happ now. Saw Jed Hoyer come out to talk to A. Rizzo during team stretch before Maddon announced the news.— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) March 23, 2019
Ian Happ (2017 and 2018) owns the worst two strikeout percentages for a player in a single season in Cubs history (min 400 PA)— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) March 23, 2019