The Weekly – Happ Heats Up and Loses His Cool as AFL Nears the End

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By Todd Johnson

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AFL News

Ian Happ finally caught fire this week when it came to hitting. On the other hand, he also lost his cool. Early in the week, he was hot at the plate. Later in the week, he struck out 3 times in one game. He threw his helmet after he struck out for the second time in the game and his bat after a third K later. This is very unlike the even-keeled prospect. In fact, it is very un-Cub like. Meanwhile, at the plate, Happ also hit his first home run in the league this week. Being the streaky player that he is, his average ballooned to almost .290 before dropping down to .271 with a .386 OBP. That’s how he’s always been. He has a great eye at the plate, but his ability to hit for average is pretty much like a roller coaster.

None of the Cub pitchers in the fall league made an appearance this week until Friday. In fact, it’s been over three weeks since Duane Underwood saw any action. You could read into that that he might be injured, or he might just be done for the season. Either way, the season did not end well for the former top pitching prospect in the Cubs system.

stephen-perakslisThere’s not much time left in the fall league. Their regular season ends on November 17. After that, the players will take a month or two off before resuming activities in Arizona to get ready for the 2017 season.

Some key things to remember from this year’s fall league are that James Farris and Stephen Perakslis are much better than we thought. I think both will be at Iowa next year and both might have a chance to contribute to the major league club in the second half of the year. If either one were left-handed, we might be talking about them making the club out of spring training. Ryan McNeil finally came around this week and had his best outing with 2 IP, 0 runs, and 2 Ks.

For Victor Caratini, he caught most every day this fall, including one no-hitter. While he did not hit for average, he did get to work on his defense which is considered the weak part of his profile. With Miguel Montero in the last year of his contract, Caratini would be a nice backup if he can improve his defense.

Thinking about Happ, I don’t know about his value long term. Unless his bat becomes overpowering, there is no really no place for him in Chicago. He’s blocked by Baez at second and a plethora of outfielders with different skill sets than his. I don’t foresee him as a bench player or a utlity guy but as an every day player.

When it comes to Eloy, he has shown the ability to adapt to a higher talent level. Out of all the players the Cubs had in Arizona this fall, he is the one who drew the most rave reviews. Several national writers talked about how his bat is more advanced than the guys who were actually hitting a lot of home runs. His BP sessions were legendary. I think going forward, his time in Arizona definitely shortens the time that he will spend in Myrtle Beach in 2017. I think it was pretty evident that his ability to adapt was much quicker than we thought. That should bode well for him next spring in Myrtle Beach.

Other News

The Cubs signed another young International Free Agent in Josue Huma, a shortstop from the Dominican Republic. He’s a switch hitter who is  6’1: and 175 pounds, He is just 16. This news came from The Cub Reporter.

wchamps-2016Final Thoughts

In 2013, I originally planned to retire this blog when the Cubs won the World Series. The problem is the Cubs did it so quickly. I did not see them winning in just a few years. Now that I have become so invested in covering all levels of the system, there is no way I can quit. I will continue my own site as well as write for Cubs Insider.

Starting this week, Cubs Central will begin rolling out its offseason articles. See down below for upcoming posts for this week, but we will also have some breaking news and trade analysis when those occur along with an updated Top 21 lists should any of top prospects be traded. The “Next Step Up” and “Position Breakdown” series will both start the week after Turkey Day. In just a little over 100 days, Spring Training Begins!

Upcoming Posts

Cubs Top MiLB Hitting Storylines for 2017

Cubs Top MiLB Pitching Storylines for 2017

The Rule V and the 40 Man

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