It’ll be the first big league action of the season for Happ, a former first-round pick and top prospect who has spent the entire season with the Cubs’ Iowa affiliate. Strikeout issues have long plagued Happ, and this year’s 26.3 percent in Triple-A is a bit high. The 24-year-old Happ is hitting .242/.364/.432 overall, which is a roughly league-average line (by measure of wRC+), but he’s been on an absolute tear this month. In his past 19 games (86 plate appearances), Happ has hit at a superlative .348/.477/.652 with five homers, four doubles and a triple. He’s punched out 18 times in that span (20.8 percent).
A corresponding roster move for Happ’s return isn’t yet known, although Kris Bryant did depart yesterday’s game with some knee discomfort. It’s possible that he needs a few days or even an IL stint, although the Cubs also have an underperforming veteran in Daniel Descalso. He’s playing in the first season of a two-year contract, which may impact any decisions the team makes on his roster status.