No. 9 overall Draft pick promoted to South Bend after batting .283 in 29 games
By Greg Garno
CHICAGO -- The moment was fleeting. Stretching for five minutes, fielding fly balls for 10 and then 25 swings of the bat. Then, just like that, Ian Happ's visit to Wrigley Field was over, and his trip through the Minor Leagues was ready to continue.
Happ, the Cubs' first-round pick in this year's Draft, was called up to Class A South Bend, but he took batting practice and got a taste of the big leagues on Friday. Drafted ninth overall, the second baseman/outfielder showed off some of the power that made him coveted by Chicago.
Just more than a day ago, Happ was in Eugene, Ore., with short-season Class A Eugene, but Friday he was signing autographs for fans at Wrigley Field with his family in town.
"It's been a great month, I guess, and it's just a lot of fun being out here today," Happ said. "It's extremely exciting to be a part of something so up and coming, so new.
"Any promotion is good. Really good to hear, and [South Bend is] a little closer to the family too, which will be good. Should be a lot of fun."
In 29 games with Eugene, the switch-hitting Happ batted .283 with four home runs and 11 RBIs. Happ, who was a Golden Spikes Award semifinalist at Cincinnati, said he has handled pitching just fine, but his biggest adjustment has been playing every day, as opposed to every weekend.
"You have to go out and do it every single day, day in and day out," Happ said. "It's been a lot of fun, but it's definitely been an adjustment.
"I think [pitchers throw] a little bit more strikes. Guys are around the zone more, but it's very competitive."
Even on a team full of young stars, the 20-year-old Happ stood out. He got the chance to chat with recent callup Kyle Schwarber and rookie Addison Russell while he waited for batting practice.
Happ is hoping to follow in their footsteps while at South Bend and take as quick a route as possible to the Majors. Kris Bryant and Schwarber came out of college and took less than two years to advance to the Cubs.
"The goal is to be here as soon as possible and help this team," Happ said. "That's why we're all down in the Minor Leagues doing what we're doing."
Greg Garno is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.