Entering the 2020 season, Cubs manager David Ross had a couple of x-factors that would dictate the club’s success.
“I knew Ian Happ was going to have to play a big role for us,” Ross said Wednesday. “I thought his success and being consistent was going to be a real factor for us.”
So far, so good.
Happ has been the Cubs best hitter this season, slashing .314/.442/.657 through Game 1 of Wednesday’s doubleheader with St. Louis. He leads the team in each of those categories, as well as home runs (6) and RBIs (14).
Happ’s success has translated throughout the lineup. He hit ninth on Opening Day and has moved up, since hitting eighth, seventh, sixth, fifth and leadoff — where he’s hitting .357 with a .500 OBP entering Game 2 of Wednesday’s doubleheader.
“Just putting together good at-bats, really focusing on that,” Happ said Tuesday of his start. “Really making sure that that’s my goal day in and day out is putting together really quality at-bats."
Happ's success comes on the heels of his good finish to the 2019 season, which carried over to an impressive spring training back in March. For the Cubs, his impressive start has been extra important while stars Kris Bryant and Javier Báez look to get on track amid slow starts.
But further, his performance backs up what the club thought he was capable of.
“Him playing well has kinda solidified my thoughts this offseason,” Ross said. “We knew he had that production in him, and he had the capability of doing that. But just going out and doing it was what we needed to see, and he’s proven that so far this year.”