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Cubs left fielder Ian Happ wins National League Gold Glove Award

His defense was significantly improved in 2022.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Tuesday afternoon, the winners of the 2022 Rawlings Gold Gloves were announced on ESPN2.

Ian Happ, who was named a finalist last month, has won his first Gold Glove for his play in left field for the Cubs this year. He’s the first Cubs left fielder to win a Gold Glove since the awards began in 1957.

As noted in that article:

The other two finalists are David Peralta, who split 2022 between Arizona and Tampa Bay, and Brewers left fielder Christian Yelich.

Happ had 14 Defensive Runs Saved this year, far more than Peralta (-5) or Yelich (-2). He also had eight outfield assists. Yelich and Peralta had two each. Happ posted, per baseball-reference, 0.8 defensive bWAR and Yelich and Peralta were both negative in that category on bb-ref.

That’s a really good performance, 14 DRS. Happ also had eight outfield assists and made several very good catches. One of the best was this one against the Phillies September 29 [VIDEO].

That was a key play in the ninth inning of a 2-0 game, as you can see, and helped the Cubs complete their sweep of the team that’s now the NL champions.

Happ also made this nice sliding catch one inning earlier [VIDEO].

Happ turned 28 in August and had by far his best MLB season, batting .271/.342/.440 with 42 doubles (tied for third in the NL) and 17 home runs, and 4.3 bWAR. He also made the NL All-Star team for the first time.

Personally, I think the steps forward Happ took in 2022 make him a good candidate for a contract extension as he enters his possible walk year in 2023. I hope the Cubs keep him.

The previous Cubs to win Gold Gloves before this year were Anthony Rizzo and Javier Báez, who won at first base and shortstop in 2020. For Rizzo that was his fourth Gold Glove and for Báez, his first.

Other Cubs outfielders to win Gold Gloves: Bob Dernier (1984), Andre Dawson (1987 and 1988) and Jason Heyward (2016 and 2017).

Congratulations to Ian Happ on his Gold Glove Award — hope he’s around the Cubs and wins many more!