Introduction to Happ
J.A. Happ, also known as “Happer,” is a professional baseball player who has been playing in Major League Baseball (MLB) since 2006. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the third round of the 2004 MLB Draft and made his MLB debut with the team in 2007. He has since played for the Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Minnesota Twins.
Happ is a left-handed pitcher who has a career ERA of 4.13 and 1,257 strikeouts. He has also been selected to two All-Star Games, in 2016 and 2018. He has been an effective pitcher throughout his career and is known for his ability to induce ground balls.
Happ’s Career Performance
Happ had a successful start to his MLB career with the Phillies, posting three consecutive seasons with an ERA below 3.50 from 2007 to 2009. He was traded to the Astros in 2010, and had a successful season with the team in 2011, posting a 3.00 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in 174.2 innings pitched.
He was traded to the Blue Jays in 2012, and posted a career-high 4.79 ERA in his first season with the team. However, he bounced back in 2013 and had a 3.53 ERA in 194.1 innings pitched. He was traded to the Mariners in 2014 and had a 4.22 ERA in 173.2 innings pitched.
Happ’s Success with the Blue Jays and Yankees
Happ was traded back to the Blue Jays in 2015 and had a successful season, posting a 3.61 ERA in 156.2 innings pitched. He made his first All-Star Game appearance in 2016 and posted a 3.18 ERA in 195.1 innings pitched.
He was traded to the Yankees in 2018 and had a successful season, posting a 3.65 ERA in 166.2 innings pitched. He made his second All-Star Game appearance in 2018 and was a key part of the Yankees run to the American League Championship Series.
Happ’s Struggles With the Pirates and Twins
Happ was traded to the Pirates in 2019 and had a disappointing season, posting a 5.48 ERA in 138.2 innings pitched. He was traded to the Twins in 2020 and had an even worse season, posting a 6.26 ERA in 56.1 innings pitched.
Happ’s Velocity Dip
One of the biggest factors in Happ’s struggles with the Pirates and Twins has been a significant drop in velocity. His average fastball velocity in 2020 was 89.6 mph, down from 91.2 mph in 2019 and 92.2 mph in 2018. His average slider velocity has also dropped from 82.9 mph in 2018 to 81.6 mph in 2020.
Happ is also getting older. He will turn 38 in October 2020 and his age is likely playing a role in his declining performance. While pitchers can remain effective into their late 30s, it is likely that he is not as effective as he was in his prime.
Happ’s Struggles with Command
Happ has also struggled with his command in recent seasons. His walk rate has increased from 2.9 BB/9 in 2018 to 4.0 BB/9 in 2019 and 4.6 BB/9 in 2020. He has also seen a decrease in his strikeout rate, from 8.2 K/9 in 2018 to 7.5 K/9 in 2019 and 6.8 K/9 in 2020.
Happ’s Injury History
Happ has dealt with several injuries throughout his career, including elbow and back issues. He has had multiple stints on the injured list in recent seasons, including a stint in 2019 for an elbow injury and a stint in 2020 for back issues.
J.A. Happ was a successful pitcher throughout his career, but his performance has declined in recent seasons. His velocity has decreased, he is getting older, and he has struggled with command and injuries. It is unclear if he can regain his form and be an effective pitcher again, but it seems unlikely at this point.
J.A. Happ, MLB, Philadelphia Phillies, Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays, Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins, ERA, WHIP, All-Star Games, fastball velocity, slider velocity, BB/9, K/9, injuries