Ian Happ’s stellar 2022 season rewarded with All-Star Game nod
On Friday, Ian Happ went up to David Ross after he announced Willson Contreras was an All-Star starter with a simple request.
“If he happens to make the team, don’t tell him in front of everybody because he’s gonna cry like a baby,” Ross told reporters in Los Angeles on Sunday.
So, naturally, Ross made sure to call a team meeting Sunday morning at Dodger Stadium. He was going over All-Star break details and travel plans — they’ll be on the road after the break — when he decided to end the meeting with special information; Happ was indeed an All-Star. Happ joins Willson Contreras as Cub All-Stars this season.
“He put his head in his hands and just got super emotional and then all of his teammates started clapping really loud,” Ross said. “A lot of hugs. Great scene. Great for our guys.
“Something to really celebrate and I think everybody was genuinely really, really happy for Ian.”
Happ was more than deserving of the honor. He’s slashed .277/.372/.449 this season and has a posted a 2.4 WAR, per Baseball-Reference, ranking 6th among NL outfielders, behind only Mookie Betts, Brandon Nimmo, Juan Soto, Starling Marte and Jurickson Profar.
Being named to the All-Star team is a special honor for Happ, especially since the process for reserves involves recognition from player and coaches in the league.
“It’s even more valuable when it comes from your peers and the coaches and the staffs around the league, managers,” Ross said. “You get that respect cause guys are looking at the numbers, they understand how hard this game is and to be putting up the numbers he’s putting up and playing every single day, they know how hard that is and how valuable that is.”
In Happ’s case, it’s extra meaningful, given where he was a year ago. On July 10, 2021, Happ was slashing .183/.296/.330 with 78 strikeouts in 77 games. He turned it around in the second half of the season, slashing .268/.350/.536 with 15 home runs and has continued that this season.
“It’s spectacular,” Ross said. “I think that’s just when you see guys set their path to greatness is after stuff like that and being able to come out and be where he is at right now, I’m super happy for him and for us.
“Happer’s been as consistent of a players as I’ve ever seen him be and the fact he gets rewarded with that, being an All-Star, he’s deserving of that.”