2015 MLB Draft Non-Scouting Report: Ian Happ – OF – University of Cincinnati

By Burke Granger

MLB Draft Prospect: Ian Happ – OF – University of Cincinnati. Bats: S Throws: R – 6’0″ 205.  Born: 08/12/94.  Previously Drafted:  None.  
Not ranked in the top 500 draft prospects in 2012, Happ went un-drafted out of Mt. Lebanon HS in Pittsburgh.  As a freshman however, Happ burst onto the scene earning Freshman All-American honors from both Perfect Game and the NCBWA while putting together a .322/.451/.483 line.
Happ continued to establish himself in the Cape Cod League in each of the past two summers and was the lone bright spot on a Cincinnati team that went just 15-41 this season.
SCOUTED
UCF @ Cincinnati – 4.4.15
STATISTICS (as of 6/4/15)
YEAR
AVE
OBP
SLG
2B
3B
HR
RBI
BB
K
SB/ATT
2013
0.322
0.451
0.483
13
1
6
36
47
32
25/30
2014
0.322
0.443
0.497
13
1
5
27
32
35
19/24
2015
0.369
0.492
0.672
18
0
14
44
49
49
12/20
It’s important to note that getting one live look at a player doesn’t provide nearly enough information for a scouting report.  It’s also important to note that I’m not a scout.  I do however actually go to see these guys play live, which is more than you’ll get from many online “Scouting Reports”.  I also talk to scouts when I’m there.  While scouts reserve their reports for their employer, I can share my thoughts with you, the reader.
HITTING – Happ’s bat has been his calling card in college and that’s not expected to change as a professional.  Happ is better from the left side, though the swing is balanced and controlled from both sides of the plate.  Happ gets plus grades for his hitting ability.  The swing and plate discipline (18.2 BB% – 1.10 BB/K Ratio) indicate an advanced feel with the bat.  That advanced feel was not evident on the day that I saw him as he struck out three times, swung through a couple of fastballs on the inner half and chased a couple 59 foot curve balls.
POWER – Happ has shown some pop this season, driving balls out of the park from straight away center to the pull side foul poll, while displaying gap power to the opposite field.
SPEED – Somewhat of a short stocky build, Happ runs well for his body which is thick but not soft.  Average speed.
ARM – Happ has average arm strength which should be playable in any of his positional possibilities, though not ideal in right field.
DEFENSE – The biggest question mark for Happ is where he’ll play defensively.  An infielder in high school and his first year on campus, he’s played almost exclusively in right field this season.  The team that drafts Happ may give him the opportunity to give infield another try, but I see a left fielder.
FUTURE – This is a draft that is short on impact bats, which makes Happ appealing and a probable first rounder.
I don’t like coming up with comps on players because they’re unfair, subjective and likely biased.  That said, here’s my unfair, subjective and biased comp for Ian Happ.
A number of data points on Happ remind me of 2010 first round pick Kolbrin Vitek of Ball State (Boston – 20th Overall).  Like Happ, Vitek’s defensive position was in question, he was considered one of the more advanced hitters in draft class that was perceived to be lacking bats, and he dominated sub par college competition.  Vitek flamed out of pro ball after just a few seasons and retired in 2014.
This was the only time I saw Happ live out of his 163 collegiate games.  To say this is a small sample size is an understatement.  Every report that I’ve read on Happ has been glowing.  But if you’re reading this I assume you want to know what I saw rather than me regurgitating what others have written.  I saw a guy swing and miss at a surprising amount of pitches, and argued balls and strikes with the umpire.  Let’s hope it was simply an off day.
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