As good as the Yankees have been this season and currently on a historic pace there’s still a couple holes left on this team that GM Brian Cashman still needs to address in 6 weeks ahead of the Trade Deadline. The big names aren’t gonna be on the block for the Yankees to snag but there’s a couple of guys who could be real contributorsfor the Bronx Bombers on there inevitable October run.
Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks have both been close to being completely useless and worthless for the Yankees this season with a combined 0.5 WAR and both being around 8% below league average hitters. With these two playing like a pair of packing peanuts it calls for the need for another Outfielder and there’s a couple options out there mainly Andrew Benintendi of the Kansas City Royals and the man of the article Ian Happ of the Chicago Cubs.
Ian Happ was the 9th overall pick by the Cubs in the 2015 Amateur MLB Draft and sky rocketed up the prospect pipeline. 2016 Happ was ranked 76th on the top 100 and then the following season was ranked 28th. Happ has had success his whole career as a baseball player from the backyard in Pittsburgh to Cincinnati for his collegiate career to his current success with the Cubs lining himself up for a big payday down the line.
Fast forwarding to the current day, Happ is already having his best start to a season he’s ever had and has put his name into the hat for potential trade options for contenders like the Yankees. As of June 19th, Happ ranks 9th amongst all OFers in fWAR at 1.9 which would rank 2nd on the Yankees right now. A wRC+ of 132 which is ranked in the top 15 of OFers and would be top 5 on the Yankees. Currently slashing .279/.378/.456 Happ is gonna fit right into the Yankees system. Happ is gonna add much needed versatility with a guy who’s a switch hitter and plays all of the outfield very well with a 5 DRS and a 2 OAA. Did I mention he could play some infield as well if they had to use him for that?
Adding a piece like Happ to the middle of the order could really do wonders for this team and would add another hard out and could cause problems in October having that experience. And people will say we’re gonna fall into the same hole as we are currently with Gallo but that’s really not the case. Gallo is a 3-outcome hitter (Strikeout, Walk, Homerun) but Happ can do way more. I’m gonna show y’all a graph that’s gonna show Happ’s percentiles and I’ll discuss more of what it means and how impressive he’s been so far;
The 1st thing that should pop out is the 95th percentile in BB% and that shows in that .378 OBP and being anywhere close to 40% On Base is very ELITE and could really help the middle of the order get some runs batted in. A very impressive Savant page does Ian Happ have because he’s above average in basically every category. He’s an above average runner which would be a real help cause the Yankees don’t have a lot of speed on the basepaths, hits the ball hard above average, hits off barrel at an above average rate and with Dillion Lawson and guys like Stanton, Judge, and Donaldson 3 of the league’s hardest hitters he could pick their brains and possibly learn to hit it harder then he is.
Another issue the Yankees have had over the years but not necessarily this season has been scoring with people in scoring position and Happ doesn’t back down from that challenge slashing .276/.423/.431 with a .854 OPS with men in scoring position. In a very small sample size (8 games) in the playoffs Happ has accumulated a line of .333/.412/.533 and a 153 wRC+ shows he’ll probably show up in October for the Yankees onroute to number 28.
The asking value for Ian Happ is gonna be slightly high with this being his contract season. Now I don’t know what it would take to get Happ but the Yankees would probably want a bullpen arm as well. Still being cuffed up with the Aaron Hicks contract it’s gonna be hard not playing a guy they committed so much money too but at this point he’s hurting them more then helping. Gallo’s contract comes up this year and as of right now it looks like we’re not gonna resign him with Judge’s big payday on the horizon. Happ I feel would stay in New York even though he’s made it clear he doesn’t want to leave Chicago but with his current platform with his podcast and his connections New York would be the perfect spot for him and his former teammate Anthony Rizzo could vouch for that.
My wrapping thoughts are that I feel like Ian Happ could be a big contributor come October and when possibly going up against other powerhouses like the Dodgers or Mets we really need to round out this team and Happ with his versatility and his ability to get on base at an ELITE rate could really put us over the hump and another great personally to have in the clubhouse and could be the missing piece that helps bring the ever eluding Number 28 back to the Bronx.