For the fifth straight year, the Cubs selected a position player with the first pick in the First-Year Player Draft. With the ninth overall pick in the first round, the Cubs selected OF/2B Ian Happ from the University of Cincinnati.
The Cubs selected one of the top three pure hitters in this year’s draft according to Baseball America, the best hitter in the Bearcats lineup and one of the top players in the Cape Cod League the past two summers. Happ was recommended by area scout Daniel Carte.
Ian Happ is a switch-hitter with excellent bat speed from both sides. Happ projects as a plus-hitter with average power. Happ is an above average runner. Happ has played right and center field, second and third base as well as a little shortstop. Happ’s arm profiles as a left fielder. Happ should play second base and has work to do there defensively.
• Keith Law Future Scouting Grades – Hitting: 60 | Power: 55 | Running Speed: 55| Fielding Range: 50 | Arm Strength: 50
• MLB Pipeline Scouting Grades – Hit: 60 | Power: 55 | Run: 55 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 55
“Ian has proved to be one of the better performers in college baseball over the past couple of seasons,” said Jason McLeod, Cubs Senior Vice President of Scouting and Player Development in a statement. “He’s a switch-hitter who hits for average and power while showing advanced plate discipline. We feel he’s athletic enough to play the infield or outfield.”
Ian Happ, 20 (Aug. 12, 1994), this season batted .369 (73-for-198) with 47 runs scored, 18 doubles, 14 home runs and 44 RBI for the Bearcats. He walked 49 times to contribute to a .492 on-base percentage, and his .672 slugging mark gave him a 1.164 OPS. Happ led the American Athletic Conference (AAC) in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, and tied for the lead in walks. Additionally, he led his team in runs, hits, doubles, home runs and RBI.
Named a semi-finalist for the 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award, the switch-hitting Ian Happ was recognized as the 2015 AAC Player of the Year, named First Team Academic All-American, Second Team Louisville Slugger All-American and was a unanimous first team All-Conference member as voted on by the league’s head coaches.
The six-foot, 205-pound Ian Happ has batted .338 (194-for-574) with 120 runs, 44 doubles, two triples, 25 home runs and 107 RBI in three seasons at Cincinnati. He has drawn more walks (128) than strikeouts (116), contributing to a .463 on-base percentage, and along with his .552 slugging mark has recorded a 1.015 OPS through his junior season. His walks and on-base percentage both rank third-most in school history while his 56 stolen bases are fifth. Happ has seen time in both right field and center field, as well as second base, third base and shortstop.
In his sophomore 2014 season, Happ led Cincinnati with a .443 on-base percentage, .497 slugging percentage, 32 walks and 19 stolen bases while he batted .322 (55-for-171) with 13 doubles, one triple, five homers and 27 RBI. He earned First Team All-AAC honors and was a preseason first team All-America selection by Baseball America.
Ian Happ is a two-time Cape Cod League All-Star, having played for the Harwich Mariners in 2013-14. He batted .329 (49-for-149) with 12 doubles, one triple, four home runs, 26 RBI and a .936 OPS in 2014 following a 2013 summer in which he hit .293 (43-for-147) with seven doubles, two triples, five homers and 22 RBI.
A native of Pittsburgh, PA, Happ graduated from Mt. Lebanon (PA) high school after he produced a .449 career batting average with 33 doubles, five triples, 12 home runs and 65 RBI in four seasons.