Cubs Quick Hits: Are Ian Happ’s Numbers for Real?

Ian Happ owns a .353 wOBA and 115 wRC+ in 323 plate appearances as a rookie. This, of course, highlighted by a booming 20th homer against the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Ivan Nova during Wednesday’s sweeping effort.

I don’t think many expected Happ to have this kind of impact immediately in 2017. I certainly didn’t imagine the youngster accumulating close to 400 plate appearances by season’s end. But here we are, and Happ could continue to carve out a meaningful role now that Addison Russell has re-aggravated his foot injury.

But are Happ’s numbers sustainable?

The answer to that question involves several factors and is outside the scope of this post, but, in general, the 23-year-old has been the beneficiary of fortunate circumstances. His expected wOBA (xOBA) by xStats translates the rookie’s batted-ball profile (i.e., exit velocity, launch angle, location, etc.) to a .323 wOBA, nearly 30 points lower than his actual rate.

While Happ has been somewhat fortunate this year, a .323 xOBA is nothing to scoff at. Plus, he’s continuing to adapt to an ever-changing scouting report.

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