Cubs select contract of INF/OF Ian Happ … Option RHP Felix Pena to Triple-A Iowa
With several position players (Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Jon Jay, Ben Zobrist) dealing with illnesses and/or injuries, the Cubs have called up INF/OF Ian Happ. The Cubs selected Happ’s contract, added him to the 40-man and active roster. Happ is starting Saturday in St. Louis for the second of three with the Cardinals. Happ is batting second and playing right field.
To make room for Happ on the active roster, RHP Felix Pena was optioned to Triple-A Iowa.
Ian Happ will wear No. 8 for the Chicago Cubs.
The Cubs’ 40-man roster now stands at 39 players. And the 25-man roster consists of 12 pitchers (five starters, seven relievers) and 13 position players.
Ian Happ, 22, was selected in the first round of the 2015 draft with the ninth overall pick. After an excellent spring in the Cactus League, Happ lit up Triple-A pitching in the Pacific Coast League. Happ slowed down, somewhat, and spent time on the DL with a bruised finger.
In 26 games with the I-Cubs this season, Happ hit .298/.362/.615 with six doubles and nine home runs for a .977 OPS … nearly half (15) of Happ’s 31 hits this season have gone for extra bases.
Happ was named the club’s number two prospect by Baseball America heading into the 2017 season. He began this season with Iowa, reaching Triple-A for the first time. Happ is tied for second in the Pacific Coast League in homers and tied for sixth in RBI with 25. Since returning from a brief stint on the disabled list (left thumb bruise), Happ has gone 10-for-20 (.500) with three doubles, a homer and eight RBI in five games.
Defensively this season, the six-foot, 205-pound Happ has seen action at second base (16 games, all starts), center field (six games, four starts), right field (four games, three starts) and left field (three games, one start).
Happ now gives the Cubs all five of their most-recent first-round draft picks on the 25-man roster, joining Javier Baez (ninth overall in 2011), Albert Almora Jr. (sixth overall in 2012), Kris Bryant (second overall in 2013) and Kyle Schwarber (fourth overall in 2014).
The switch-hitter in 2016 played his first full season in the Cubs system and combined to bat .279 (136-for-488) with 30 doubles, three triples, 15 homers and 73 RBI in 134 games between High-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Tennessee. He was a Carolina League All-Star. Overall, he is a career .275 hitter (232-for-843) with 53 doubles, 33 home runs, 131 RBI and 28 stolen bases in 227 minor league games covering three professional campaigns.
Happ was drafted by the Cubs out of the University of Cincinnati, where he was named a semi-finalist for the 2015 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award. He 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. He was listed as one of the top three pure college hitters in that year’s Draft by Baseball America.
Felix Pena, 27, has posted no record with a 3.60 ERA (two earned runs in five innings) in two relief outings with the Cubs this season. With Iowa, Peña has posted no record with four saves and a 1.86 ERA (two earned runs in 9.2 innings) in eight relief appearances.
The switch-hitting infielder, outfielder will have to deal with Carlos Martinez on Saturday afternoon at wonderful Busch Stadium. The Cubs have six homegrown players in the starting lineup … Kyle Schwarber, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras, Albert Almora Jr., Jeimer Candelario and Ian Happ with Kris Bryant and Addison Russell on the bench.