SCOTTSDALE, Arizona — Ian Happ has been a spring-training star this year, hitting .417/.473/.813 (1.286 OPS, not a misprint). He’s gone 20-for-48 with four doubles and five home runs. Here’s one of those home runs, absolutely crushed a couple of weeks ago against the Padres:
Wake up.— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) March 13, 2017
Go to sleep.
However, he’ll be toiling in the minor leagues to begin the season, which should not surprise you.
#Cubs assign Ian Happ, John Andreoli and Taylor Davis to minor-league camp and option Eddie Butler and Rob Zastryzny to Triple-A Iowa.— Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) March 27, 2017
None of these cuts are any surprise. Happ played just half of 2016 at Double-A and might start 2017 there. John Andreoli and Taylor Davis are organizational guys who will play this year, most likely, at Triple-A Iowa.
Eddie Butler and Rob Zastryzny should be two-fifths of the Iowa rotation. Butler, in particular, has opened eyes at camp this spring and is definitely a contender for the 2018 rotation. Zaz has had an uneven spring, but he too could be in the mix for next year.
Happ will certainly be a big-league player, if not later this year, then certainly in 2018. It remains to be seen whether that’ll be with the Cubs, or whether he’ll wind up traded for pitching.
That leaves 31 players in camp. I would imagine the next cuts could come when the team departs for Houston on Thursday, but Theo & Co. could also wait until the off day Saturday. The 25-man Opening Day roster doesn’t have to be finalized until Sunday.