School: Cincinnati; Class: Junior
Position: OF; B/T: B/R
Height: 6-0; Weight: 205
Previously Drafted: N/A
Background: Aiming to be the highest drafted prospect in the history of the University of Cincinnati, Happ, a switch-hitting infielder/outfielder from Pittsburgh, PA, has been a consistent dominant force in the middle of the Bearcats’ lineup during his three-year run.
Happ opened up his collegiate career with a bang, hitting .322/.451/.483 with 13 doubles, one triple, six homeruns, and 25 stolen bases (in 30 attempts) – production which earned him several awards including NCBWA Freshman All-America and Perfect Game All-America. He also fared well in his debut in the Cape Cod Summer League, where he promptly earned a trip to the midsummer All-Star game and finished the season by hitting .293 with seven doubles, a pair of triples, five homeruns, and 13 stolen bases against some of the best amateur pitching college baseball has to offer.
His production the following season, his sophomore campaign, more or less remained unchanged: he batted .322/.443/.497 with 13 doubles, one triple, five homeruns, and 19 stolen bases (in 24 attempts). And, unsurprisingly, he was named to the Cape Cod All-Star team again, by slugging .329 with 17 extra-base hits and eight stolen bases while posting a strong strikeout-to-walk ratio (32-to-26)
Entering 2015 the pre-season awards poured in:
- College Sports Madness Preseason All-American Athletic Conference
- College Sports Madness Preseason American Athletic Conference Player of the Year
- Perfect Game Preseason All-American Athletic Conference
- Perfect Game Preseason American Athletic Conference Player of the Year
- NCBWA Preseason All-America Third Team
- Louisville Slugger Preseason All-America Third Team
- College Sports Madness Preseason All-America First Team
- Baseball America Preseason All-America First Team
- Golden Spikes Preseason Watch List
And through his first 46 games Happ has been able to live up to the lofty expectations: he’s mashing to the tune of .375/.495/.696 while tying a career high with 13 doubles and setting a career benchmark in homeruns (13).
Projection: A bit of an odd prospect because he really doesn’t have a set position once he transitions to the pro level. He could easily find himself at a corner outfield spot, where the bat doesn’t play extraordinarily well, third base, where it has a chance to be league average for the position, or second base, a potential reincarnation of the Indians’ Jason Kipnis.
Offensively speaking, Happ has a lengthy track record of success with his time in a Bearcats’ uniform as well as – and more importantly – in the Cape Cod Summer League. He has an elite eye at the plate – he’s walked in nearly 18% of his career plate appearances (as of May 6) – and enough pop to slug 25 doubles and 10 homeruns in a pro season. Happ’s decline in his stolen base frequency and success are the only red flags to speak of during his final collegiate season.
He’s in the mold of a Jason Kipnis/Dustin Ackley-type player – solid league-average offensive performers. He’s a typical Oakland A’s-type prospect – college bat with some defensive versatility – but likely won’t be around when the franchise goes on the clock with the 20th pick.
Ceiling: 2.5- to 3.0-win player
Floor: 1.5-win player
Risk: Low to Moderate
Grade: First Round, Top 15 Selections