Projecting the 2020 Yankees: J.A. Happ
J.A. Happ underperformed in 2019 and when the 2020 MLB season begins within the next few months, he needs to have a much better season. The Yankees need it.
J.A. Happ was terrific for the Yankees in 2018. When Happ was traded to New York from the Toronto Blue Jays, he boosted the Yankees pitching rotation. Happ went 7-0 in 11 starts for New York and posted an era just over 2.5. However, he failed miserably in his lone postseason start for New York in the ALDS against the Boston Red Sox.
Brian Cashman quickly inked the veteran pitcher to a 3-year deal worth $51 million that offseason. That deal would come back to bite the Yankees as Happ would go on to be a liability on the mound in 2019. He appeared in 31 games for the Yankees last year, and he went 12-8. Happ’s ERA was close to 5, and he gave up 34 home runs to opposing ball clubs.
Gerrit Cole’s addition to the pitching staff will ease the pressure for Happ as he will most likely be the 4th starter behind Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, and James Paxton. Happ pitched well for the Yankees a few years ago in 2018 when the team needed him the most, and if he channels that success in 2020, then the Yankees pitching staff will undoubtedly be one of the best in MLB.
Happ pitched well in spring training before everything shut down. Happ went 2-0, a 1.38 ERA and only gave up one home run. He was cruising along and looked like he was ready to start the regular season on a high note.
However, Happ has given the fans some glimmers of hope in the past that he’ll turn around some of his weaknesses. Then he’ll go back out in his next start and give up five runs, three of those coming via the home run. It is too bad, too, because when Happ is on, he is a valuable asset to any pitching staff in baseball.
I’d expect Happ to have somewhat of a decent year in 2020. I don’t think he can pitch consistently despite having a good spring. But, I don’t believe Happ will have a horrible 2020. He will most likely get 9-10 wins with an ERA just over 3. Happ will have to limit the home runs, though, and if he can, then he will have more success in 2020.