The newest big-name Chicago Cubs prospect arrived on Saturday and made his presence felt immediately in his first game with a two-run homer.
So far, Ian Happ is hitting .429 in his first two games, further helping bolster a mostly home-grown lineup that is watched closely by collectors.
Happ is not a surprise for prospectors as the defending World Series champs took him with the ninth pick in the 2015 MLB Draft out of the University of Cincinnati– and he’s been watched on cardboard ever since — but sales of his cards, at least so far, are showing some room for growth.
Happ already appears on more than 400 different prospect cards and nearly half of those are certified autographs. His earliest ink can be found in these 2015 brands — Bowman Draft, Bowman’s Best, Elite Extra Edition, Leaf 25th, Leaf Metal Draft, Leaf Trinity, Leaf Ultimate Draft, Panini Contenders, Immaculate Collection Collegiate and National Treasures Collegiate. Other autos can be found in these products from the following year — Bowman Inception, Bowman Platinum, Bowman — and also in 2017 Donruss.
With his call-up Happ should be positioned to have Rookie Cards and RC-logo autos in some products released this year, further helping out a crop that already includes Aaron Judge, Andrew Benintendi, Alex Bregman and Dansby Swanson.
Among eBay completed auctions, Happ’s cards aren’t exactly scorchers just yet — at least by Cubs standards — with the top recent completed sale so far being $999.99 for an Orange Bowman Chrome Refractor — but the volume is good for those seeking high-end cards of the second baseman/outfielder and there are plenty of those elite specimens available over among active auctions.
Happ hit .275 with 33 homers and 131 RBI in his first three minor-league seasons (227 games) with nine of those homers coming this season for Triple-A Iowa where he was hitting .298 before his promotion. More impressive, though, might have been his five homers and 21 RBI while hitting .383 in 29 spring training games this year.
His call-up was intended as a short-term fix for some injuries but Cubs manager Joe Maddon said performance could alter those plans in the short-term.
“If he keeps doing [this], it’s hard to say that you don’t want him here any longer,” Maddon told CSN Chicago. “There’s other ways to fit him in. But, again, all I want him to do is attack today. Literally, enjoy the moment. Don’t overthink it. Control what he can. … We know how good he is. We know what he means to our future. Go play, and let us figure out the rest. Of course, the team, roster-wise, is in a state of flux now, based on different guys being banged up. But all Ian has to worry about is to continue to do what he did in camp, what he’s been doing at Triple-A, and let us make that decision.”
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