The Cubs and first-round pick Ian Happ have agreed to terms on a $3MM bonus, reports MLB.com’s Jim Callis (via Twitter). That bonus represents a savings of $351K for the Cubs in relation to the No. 9 selection’s slot value (per Baseball America).
An outfielder/second baseman out of Cincinnati, Happ was a consensus Top 25 talent in this year’s draft. ESPN’s Keith Law saw Happ the most favorably, ranking him seventh on his Top 100 list. Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs also had Happ in his Top 10, ranking him ninth. Callis and Jonathan Mayo pegged him at No. 20 on their Top 200, and Happ ranked 24th on Baseball America’s Top 500.
There’s some debate as to whether Happ’s eventual home will be in the outfield grass or on the infield dirt, which likely contributed to the slight gap in the listed rankings. Law calls second base Happ’s likely position, and McDaniel, too, notes that he has the potential to play there. The MLB.com and BA scouting reports note that a corner outfield spot — likely left, due to lack of arm strength — is a likelier outcome, so it’s not a surprise to see him rank a bit further down those lists.
Happ’s bat seems to generate fewer question marks, as all four agree that he’s one of the most advanced hitters in this year’s class. ESPN notes that the switch-hitter has a better swing from the left side and has shown the ability to hit for power. BA notes that he has “excellent” bat speed from both sides of the plate, projecting as a plus hitter with average power. Happ’s also said to be a solid to above-average runner. McDaniel feels he can have four average-or-better tools on the 20-80 scouting scale, while MLB.com feels all five can be average or better.
Happ will add to the continually proliferating stable of premium young hitters in the Cubs’ minor league system. Though the team has already seen the likes of Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler and Addison Russell emerge to lock down regular spots around the diamond, other names such as Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, Albert Almora, Billy McKinney and Gleyber Torres are still working toward that same goal (though of course each comes with varying timelines).
I wonder when one of these guys gets traded. As soon as this summer? Alcantara maybe.
I think Alcantara will be Maddon’s Zobrist light. He doesn’t seem to have that much value(trade wise) and I suspect Maddon will be a guy that can extract as much value as possible out of him.
What can they get though honestly? I have heard so many varying levels of value for the cubs youth. If the Cubs target a SP, what type would they be able to get for a Baez/Alcantara +?
That’d probably get them in Kazmir territory. Can’t imagine they can pull off one of the Aces without including one of the better pieces.
I wonder if the Sox would trade Samardzija? Ironic for the Cubs to get him back, but selling off a few pieces for Shark would give them a great front 3 for the playoffs
I can’t see anyway the Cubs would want to give up anything to get Samardjiza. He has had an awful year and they have better options already on their staff.
Do you see Happ as an expendable PTBNL if a trade for someone like Hamels begins to come together?
The Cubs can’t trade Happ until after the World Series, following recent changes surrounding the PTBNL rules. That rule change specifically ruled out 2015 draftees from being used as PTBNLs in summer deals as well.
Thanks Steve. I’m not sure how I missed reading about that change.
Link to our story on it right here if you’re curious:
I see Happ as making someone like a McKinney expendable if the Cubs choose to try and go for a Hamels or a Hamels type.
Also…welcome to our new commenting system? Guess it’s just me now.
I’ll have a post up later today about the change.
Exciting news! That is, Ian Happ joining the calvalcade of new Cubs and also my new ability to communally call on the core queue of Cubs kids a calvalcade in comments.
Which teams have young pitching they’d be willing to trade for young bats? Mets? Mariners?
It seems the Mets are only willing to trade Niese or Gee, so……….
Aren’t Gee and Niese more back end rotation guys? Cubs have the bats to trade for better than that. Maybe their just aren’t any teams willing to trade young TOR pitchers?
Cubs in STL
Cubs have no need for a backend starter type. I don’t think Alcantara gets you much but assuming Baez keeps hitting like he had been when he comes off the DL, he and McKinney and/or Vogulbach or possibly Torres should net a nice return.
Does Gleybar Torres have a higher ceiling than all the others?