Ian Happ heading to Mesa, plus thoughts on Cubs potential new market inefficiency in the draft.

It is not official but Ian Happ tweeted it himself.

The Cubs have not committed to where Happ will play but there is some thought they will try to move him back to 2B. He is also athletic enough to play the OF and at least fast enough to play CF. Happ has also played some 3B.  I believe, however, that 2B is their preference right now.

One thing that I have heard recently with regard to the Cubs is that they feel there is a rather large gap in defensive coaching between college and the professional level, while the coaching in terms of hitting and pitching are much more similar. Indeed, the Cubs plucked a collegiate pitching coach, Derek Johnson, to work with their young professionals in part because of the parallel philosophies.

There may be some market inefficiency, however, when it comes to defense. That is, it may be overvalued at the collegiate level, causing good hitters to drop far below what they should.  The Cubs are getting great value with hitters because of their confidence in developing players from a defensive standpoint.

It would explain why the Cubs took Kyle Schwarber with the idea that he had a good chance to stick at catcher — much more than his college performance would warrant. The Cubs felt that their development staff could make an impact in that area.   The caveat here, however, is that the player is willing to make the commitment to that defensive instruction.  That has certainly been the case with Schwarber and the same was true with Kris Bryant at 3B.  The Cubs have been adamant both players could play long term at their respective positions and so far, at least, they have been right.

The same is hopefully true of Happ, whom some scouts believe doesn’t have the footwork to play 2B. The Cubs likely feel that can be taught. The natural athleticism he has, however, cannot. At this point of his career, that athleticism is either there or it isn’t.  Mechanics, however, can be taught at any stage.  My guess here is the Cubs got a good feel for how hard Happ is willing to work on his defensive skills, which gave them the confidence to pull the trigger on perhaps the best hitter in the draft.

It will be interesting to see if the Cubs have similar success with Happ at 2B.  If so, it could be another draft day steal.

Filed under: 2015 MLB Draft

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  • fb_avatar

    John,

    I see that the http://ccdt.webs.com/ web site is now showing 2 guys with bonus money next to their names.

    7th Rd Craig Brooks with $5K
    and
    10th Rd Vimael Machin with $2K

    This seems like some extraordinarily great news as the allotted slot money was much higher. Hope this might help elsewhere with guys that might seem more difficult to sign.

  • In reply to bocabobby:

    Definitely what that's for. Looks like they will sign 3rd and 4th picks, maybe, maybe one flyer but not Jones or Padgett.

  • Happ n schwarber very similar in the way scouts viewed the bat in the draft and the defense both were projected. I'll take a guy that can hit who is athletic and commited to the game with some good coaching. Liking the pick more n more

  • John, do you really think the Cubs will greatly overspend in the IFA
    market for the right players and pay the price in the future

  • Cubs 8th round pick Preston Morrison from TCU just threw 7 innings of 1 run, 5 K's, 0 BB against a very good LSU team in the CWS.

  • In reply to Chicago Aces:

    Funny, I turned on the game since the cubs don't play until tonight but I forgot who I should be watching for. Now that you say that, I am glad that was our pick!

  • fb_avatar

    I do actually think the strategy of piling up middle infield prospects is a good one. It will make eventual trades hurt less. Also it is clear the Cubs do not believe in drafting any significant pitching prospects early in the draft. The strategy of stockpiling position prospects will really start to pay off once the Cubs start acquiring quality MLB pitchers via trade.

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Sean Holland:

    I agree. Although maybe they don't need to trade right away. Per Carrie Muskat: "In 2nd rehab start @smokiesbaseball, #Cubs Jacob Turner gave up 2 H, 1 BB over 5 scoreless IP. 3 Ks. Threw 63 pitches, 36 for strikes."

  • In reply to Cubs Win 009:

    I am hoping Turner stays healthy and gets close to his ceiling. Could be another steal. Seems the FO likes stealing. :)

  • If Happ is a .280/.350 guy who can provide 20 HR from the left side and average defense, you'd have an Allstar on your hand. His projected hit tool and power suggests that is well within his ceiling. Pair him with Rizzo, Bryant, Russell and Schwarber and you may have he best hitting infield in baseball. That's a lot of assuming though. Schwarber and Happ are still minor leaguers and Russell is still developing.

  • In reply to mcoley32:

    20 from the left side would be nice. Maybe 10 more from the right since he's a switch hitter. I'd take that for sure.

  • In reply to Bilbo161:

    From what we know right now, it isn't likely that we ever see 30 HRs a year from Happ. 20 HRs combined at the plate is quite optimistic. His strength is in his hit tool, not his power tool.

    But .280 - .300 BA with 15 - 20 home runs, combined with an additional .70 points on his OBA would make a dang good second baseman.

  • 3rd pick Hudson sign for 1.1 m

  • In reply to jimmy89:

    There goes the savings from numbers 7 and 10

  • In reply to jimmy89:

    He was sloted 731,000

  • In reply to jimmy89:

    Do you have a source for this?

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    That's what he has said john

  • In reply to jimmy89:

    Also he said if he went any lower in the draft he would of went to Mizzou

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    Search google "2015 draft pool money "

  • At the south bends game behind home in Peoria. Torres hit a line shot homer. He's 2 for 2 with a single and 2 rbi homer

  • In reply to Calabio32:

    In Torres' previous 5 games, he'd gone 2-for-20 with 2 walks and 9 strikeouts. He gets a day off yesterday, no pinch hit, no nothin'. Just sits and watches. A mental break probably more so than a physical one. And boom, 3-for-3 so far with a home run.

  • In reply to Quedub:

    Keeping players fresh is important. That is why we need versatile guys on the bench to give periodic days off to the starters.

  • Leal jus gave up a booomb

  • Off topic, but Joe West's strike zone during today's Indians-Tigers game was impressively bad. This is just a new level of inaccurate, even for Joe West.

    http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/zoneTrack.php?month=6&day=14&year=2015&game=gid_2015_06_14_clemlb_detmlb_1/&prevDate=0614

  • Scouts from the Phillies are at the peoria south Bend game. Spoke to one for a few min. He said they are here watching Gleyber Torres. Very impressed. He is 3 for 3 today.

  • In reply to Calabio32:

    His defense is what impresses these guys most. 2 balls have been hit in the right field corner and both times Torres cuts them off instead of 2nd and both times the runners were fast but hit the breaks. He has a strong arm. Good instincts

  • In reply to Calabio32:

    I got my first look at Torres tonight. He does have a cannon for an arm. His first throw, while taking grounders between innings, always had a little extra zip on it.
    He finished 5 for 5 with the aforementioned homer and then a double which he tried to stretch into a triple. He has a nice line drive stroke and went the opposite way today three times. Torres' bat reminds me a lot of Almora's when he played in the Midwest League with Kane County.
    Torres has a scary high ceiling for a guy who is only 18.5 years old.
    If given a choice to land a big piece at the deadline I would much rather trade away Javier Baez than a Gleyber Torres. Torres will be part of a wave that will arrive in 2 to 3 years, while Baez doesn't really have a defensive spot to fill right now with Bryant, Castro, and Russell in the infield.

  • In reply to PtownTom:

    Where were u sitting? Great game. His homer was a nice line drive. I was.in section 109 1st row

  • In reply to Calabio32:

    Section 111, 1st row for the first couple innings, but then we got hot in the sun and moved up and into the shade. It was a great game.

    I think my favorite part was when Torres hit that double in the 9th and tried to stretch it into a triple. When he was thrown out he just looked up at his coach with a hug smile on his face. I would have loved to have heard the ensuing conversation, which I'm sure was all positive.

  • Should be dare trade very young promising prospects?

  • In reply to emartinezjr:

    If it gets you hamels......maybe.....maybe.....Idk it's tough to say if a 17 18 year old will pan out. But I like torres...4 for 4 today btw.

  • In reply to Calabio32:

    I know, the Carter trade still haunts me to this day

  • Lake down Schlitter up. Just don't put Hagrid in a high leverage situation and he will be fine.

  • Schwarber and Vogelbach each stole a base tonight. Should I celebrate something so rare? Yeah I think I will. Maker's 46 time.

  • Anyone have a clue what the cubs draft picks have signed for - Have not heard or seen Hudson signed except here but if true thats great. If the first three sign this draft was pretty good.

  • In reply to toddm:

    We will have the first 20 sign IMO.

  • In reply to toddm:

    http://ccdt.webs.com/

  • In reply to TD40:

    nice... great site.

  • Looking forward to seeing Mr. Happ on June 23 from about three feet away! Hope I don't have to ring him up. Doubt I will. He'll likely be the best player on the field that day.

  • In reply to Ben20:

    You do, you know how we are gonna feel about cha!

  • Late to the comments but wanted to add to the premise. I heard on a Baseball America draft podcast a couple weeks ago that they are hearing same ideas from some front offices. They said some think you can teach defense enough to add a half to a full grade on defense (someone can go from 50 to 55/60). That is huge in regards to someone like Happ if he can be above avg defense at 2B when many thought would max out as LF.

  • fb_avatar

    Jim Callis tweeted that Ian Happ signed for exactly $3 mil, which would be a slot savings of $350K or so.

    IIRC, Cubs have banked another $300K or so from a couple senior signs

    To avoid any risk and keep leverage, it's probably wise to sign your underslots first

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