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2009 Projection: JA Happ

JA Happ, SP (LHP)
Age: 26

2008: 31.2 IP / 1-0 / 3.69 ERA / 14 BB / 26 K / 0 CG / 1.33 WHIP

Summary: Getting a little more time to show off, JA Happ proved his mettle with a few fine starts in 2008. He played like most promising rookies, with a fewer than 2:1 K:BB rate and a pretty decent ERA. His 3.98 BB/9 rate was high, and his 7.39 K/9 rate was low, but for a man who led the International League in strikeouts for much of 2008, there isn’t much concern about improvement. He held hitters to an impressive .239 average, handling lefties very well (.209 AVG, .261 OBP).

Career Level: Ascent (Year 1)

Green Flags: The strikeout rates could likely be his worst for a while, as he’ll likely learn major league timing a lot more as he continues. He doesn’t have any more to learn in the minor leagues. … While Happ dominated against lefties, his splits against righties (.247/.344/.312) are actually very, very good, too.

Red Flags: His fly-ball rates were high (42.6 percent compared to 30.9 percent ground balls), so that raises caution. … His walk rate was high, though he is young.

Prognostication: Happ needs to start for a major league team, and it’s likely he’ll finish the season as a regular starter in the Phillies rotation. At this point in his career, he probably could strike out more than 150 hitters in a season and finish with an ERA under 4.00. But I’ll say he rates just above a 4.00 ERA. He is still fresh.

2009 Projection: 118.1 IP / 9-7 / 4.02 ERA / 47 BB / 95 K / 0 CG / 1.38 WHIP

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