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Pelicans' Happ leads Players of the Week

Cubs prospect clubs three homers en route to Carolina League award
April 25, 2016

Changing positions to begin your first full professional season can be a tall order. When it comes to his offensive output, Ian Happ appears to be handling the switch in stride.

Amidst a move from the outfield to second base, the Cubs' No. 3 prospect went 9-for-21 (.429) with three homers, eight RBIs and nine walks over seven games for Class A Advanced Myrtle Beach to earn the Carolina League's second Player of the Week award for the 2016 season.

Happ's best week as a professional since he was taken ninth overall in last year's Draft started with a bang. Make that two bangs. The 21-year-old switch-hitter cracked his first two homers of the season for his first career multi-homer game last Monday in a 6-4 win over Winston-Salem. He bookended that with another first -- his first career three-walk game -- Sunday in the Pelicans' 4-2 win at home over Carolina.

Through his first 17 Carolina League games, Happ owns an impressive .313/.450/.547 line with three homers, a triple, four doubles and 15 RBIs for Myrtle Beach. That's quite a bounceback after starting 9-for-45 (.225) with 14 strikeouts in his first 10 games of the season.

"I feel like I've been seeing the ball really well lately, and that has a lot to do with it," he said. "At the beginning of the season, I didn't feel quite in rhythm yet. But as things have gotten going, I'm feeling more and more comfortable, and I've tried to be patient up there. That's led to some pretty good results."

Happ's offensive surge takes some of the pressure off his move to second base, which he is playing for the first time since his freshman season at the University of Cincinnati. 

"I think when you're in rhythm and having a lot of good at-bats, that makes everything in the game easier," said's No. 74 overall prospect. "I'm getting very comfortable in the field, and that gives a lot of confidence in everything you do in the game."

Happ's hot streak underscores just how impressive a middle infield pairing Myrtle Beach could have this season between the 21-year-old and top Cubs prospect Gleyber Torres, who is still waiting for his breakout after starting the season with a .172 average through 17 games. Though some Cubs fans may dream of their partnership at Wrigley Field in the future -- even with youngster Addison Russell holding down short and Ben Zobrist signed through 2019 -- the second baseman says both prospects are focused on playing at Myrtle Beach's Field for now.

"We talked about it a little bit last year, that we were hoping to play together in Myrtle," Happ said. "So when it happened, we were both happy about it. But we're both focused on the next pitch, the next game and being in the present moment. We don't talk about the future beyond that."

Here's a complete rundown of Offensive Player of the Week award winners for games played April 18-24:

Offensive players of the week
League Player Pos. Team MLB org. Notable stats
International Josh Bell 1B Indianapolis PIT .400/.438/.767, 2 HR, 9 RBI, cycle
Pacific Coast Hunter Renfroe OF El Paso SD .429/.500/1.048, 4 HR, 1 2B, 6 RBI
Eastern Mike Yastrzemski OF Bowie BAL .438/.455/.813, 3 HR, 3 2B, 9 RBI
Southern Chesny Young 2B Tennessee CHC .480/.606/.520, 7 BB, 1 K, 7 SB
Texas Ryan Cordell OF Frisco TEX .429/.435/.810, 2 HR, 2 RBI, 9 RBI
California Luke Tendler OF High Desert TEX .440/.517/1.000, 3 HR, 10 RBI, 9 R
Carolina Ian Happ 2B Myrtle Beach CHC .429/.600/.905, 3 HR, 8 RBI, 9 BB
Florida State Mark Payton OF Tampa NYY .389/.520/.778, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 6 BB
Midwest Will Maddox 1B West Michigan DET .611/.632/.722, 11-for-18, 2 RBI
South Atlantic Yermin Mercedes C Delmarva BAL .520/.500/1.000, HR, 2 3B, 10 RBI

Sam Dykstra is a reporter for Follow and interact with him on Twitter, @SamDykstraMiLB.