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Prospect Report: JA Happ

Instead of doing a weekly recap of Minor League action (which is unfair to the Minors and very shoddily done), I’m going to present player profiles throughout the season, trying to do one per week with updates.

Today, we start with James Happ.

Prospect: James (JA) Happ
Birthday: October 19, 1982
Dimensions: 6’6″, 200 pounds
Level: AAA Lehigh Valley

Happ has been sensational for the IronPigs. His season stats:

46.1 IP, 2.72 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 55 K, 23 BB

He is the AAA leader in strikeouts and among the top-five in Minor League Baseball in said category. Despite the good numbers he is 0-4, a product of the atrocious IronPig offense.

A left-hander, Happ is a tall guy with OK control. When he’s ahead in the count he’s practically unhittable, so first-pitch strikes are key. During his very short cup of coffee with the Phils last year (a four-inning performance against the Mets), he gave up seven hits, walked five and gave up five earned runs.  His one poor Minor League season was last year with Ottawa, and he either walked too many or left a lot of pitches up there to hit. But this year it seems he’s getting ahead of hitters and getting them to swing later in counts on bad pitches.

Estimation: I always thought this was Happ’s do-or-die year, and he’s doing. Benson aside, he’s next in line to patch the starting rotation, and considering the mediocre-to-poor job Adam Eaton is doing, Happ could see the Majors again by June 1. He’s a definite by the All-Star break.

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