Quantcast


Year in Review: J.A. Happ

Posted by Pat Gallen, Fri, January 08, 2010 04:00 PM | Comments: 64
2009 Year in Review, Posts

http://www.totalprosports.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/ja-happ.jpgJames Anthony Happ is a quiet, unassuming 27-year old budding star. Don’t mistake that tranquil demeanor for weakness; the dude is an absolute force when he is on.

Happ was relentless throughout the entire 2009 season, going 12-4 with 2.93 ERA in 166 innings, while finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting in the National League behind Florida’s Chris Coughlan. It didn’t start off as a ROY-type season for Happ out of the gate as he was passed over for Chan Ho Park for the final rotation spot.  Didn’t matter to him that he was placed in the bullpen, where, he too, excelled.  The lanky left-hander patiently waited his turn and in turn was finally given a chance to start on May 23 in the Bronx.  Chan Ho Park had used up all of his starting chips and Happ shined against the Yankees, never looking back.

His six-inning, two run performance was indicative of just how tough Happ would be for the remainder of the ’09 season. On June 27, the baseball community finally took notice as Happ tortured the Blue Jays in Toronto, tossing a complete game shutout, while fanning four batters. Consider it the defining moment for J.A.; it was his fifth consecutive victory, a streak that would stretch two more wins and nearly one more month.

Happ followed that up on a warm, August day against Colorado with yet another heart-stopping performance.  It would be his second CG-SO of the season, but this time, he struck out 10 batters over 127 pitches. However, on the same day in the minor leagues, Pedro Martinez was readying for his seat at the starters table.  Pedro one-upped Happ by striking out 11 batters in a start for Double-A Reading.

Luckily for Happ, he did not lose his starting spot outright until the playoffs due to Pedro’s September injury. Still, he was used as a reliever in the playoffs, where he pitched to mixed results.  Happ allowed four earned runs over 6 1/3 innings (seven appearances) and never really settled into a groove as he had as a relief pitcher early in the year.

Aside from his average showing in the postseason, from start to finish, Happ proved to the organization and the people following it, that he has the necessary tools to be a very good major league starter.  The Phillies brass pushed that point when they declined to trade Happ in a deadline deal for the uber-coveted Roy Halladay.  Instead, Happ stayed put, the Phillies brought in Cliff Lee, and the team once again rallied to the Fall Classic.  If not for Happ and his impressive emergence as a solid middle of the rotation pitcher, the Phillies may not have secured back-t0-back NL Pennants.

J.A. Happ was that good.

2009 numbers: 12-4, 2.93 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 119 K, 56 BB, 166 IP, 149 H, .244 BAA

GRADE: 8.4/10:  Happ was outstanding, but not so much in the playoffs. Perhaps it was the back and forth between the pen and the rotation that caused a slow down in the postseason.  Nevertheless, Happ will now be counted on for even bigger things in the future.

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1691 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 psujoe

    Don’t you usually have a number grade at the bottom or am I confused as usual, LOL?

     
  • Posts: 0 joe

    pretty sure his CG SO against the rockies was at home..

    he fanned Tulo to end it…pretty sure that was at the Bank

     
  • Posts: 0 CT

    I’m pretty sure Happ’s CG shutout against the Rockies was in Philly, not CO

     
  • Posts: 0 Don M

    I think that he would have been the Game 7 starter if the World Series went that far

    he was definitely shot by the end of last season, but expect a strong rebound performance from Happ as he will be stretched out for the long run this year

     
  • Posts: 0 Mark B

    He will be a very solid #3 starter in 2010, I’m confident of that.

    That said, his curve could use some improvement, just like Cole’s. I’d like to see a few more change-ups and curves, and a few less fastballs, and I think we will as he matures.

     
  • Posts: 0 Dudley Monk

    Happ deserves a 9 or better. I hope he does even better in 2010. It is great to see someone step in and excell, especially when they exceed expectations. I am really glad that he was not traded. I would not be surprised if he ended up as the #2 starter by the end of the year.

     
  • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    PSU JOE; Yeah we do. Not sure why it isnt up…

     
  • Posts: 0 Phillygirl17

    Happ is my favorite… Just imagine this rotation… Halladay/Hamels (not Hollywood)/ Happ… I can’t wait!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Looks like Myers is signing with the Astros.

     
  • Posts: 0 Nick

    Starting the 2009 season, what did we expect Happ to do for the Phils?… Nothing.

    I think we should be grading players on their expectations and actual accomplishments, not just their stats.

    I think Happ deserves a 9.5/10, but I do NOT expect a repeat of 2009. If he gets through 2010 as a Phillies starter behind Halladayo, Hamels and Blantonian with a 3.50 ERA and under, I will be VERY happy.

     
  • Posts: 0 joedad

    Almost comical:

    Report: RHP Myers set to join Astros
    ESPN.com news services

    Friday, January 8, 2010

    The Houston Astros and right-hander Brett Myers have agreed to a contract pending a physical, KRIV-TV, a Fox affiliate in Houston, has reported, citing unnamed major league sources. Myers, 73-63 with a 4.40 ERA in eight seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, underwent surgery in June to repair a torn labrum in his hip. A career starter, Myers was featured in a set-up role upon returning, pitching in 10 games in September and October, including two postseason outings. He finished 2009 with a 4-3 record and 4.84 ERA in 70 2/3 innings pitched, a season after going 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA.

     
  • Posts: 0 joedad

    Oh yeah, and Happ surprised me last year. i think the hernia killed his season. He has higher expectations this year so let’s hope for a solid #4 type season from him.

     
  • Posts: 0 Dan S

    Happ’s second complete game shutout was at home not in Colorado

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I think J.A. Happ is going to be a really good pitcher. In the end, he might be better than Cole Hamels. J.A. has a tremendous demeanor and a very good changeup. He’s got good control and he looks like he really knows his way around hitters. And he has another pitch that really kills. Its that high riding fastball he can throw when he’s ahead in the count. That ball explodes right into a right handers eyes. So, unlike Cole, he’s got the plate covered. The up and in fastball and the fade change up on the outside corner (to righties). To say that he pitches like Andy Petitte is obvious. He’s like his clone. If he can learn to throw a fastball with a little tail on it (in to righties, away from lefties), wow, look out I think.

    The Dipsy

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    Pat , did you assess Happ’s mark based on the regular season only? It sounds like you included the playoffs. Happ only started 1 game during the Division series, the remainder of his appearances were out of the bullpen.
    My point is if you were to limit this grading system based on the regular season, I think Happ would deserve a higher mark.
    I agree with Nick – if Happ comes up with a “Blantonian” ERA of 3.5 or so, that would be fine for a #3 or 4 starter.

     
  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    Funny enough, I was near positive that Myers would be offered something by the Astros, considering how Ed Wade has a fetish for former Phillies, especially for guys who were there during his reign lol

    Totally expected them to sign him a lot sooner though.

     
  • [...] original here: Year in Review: J.A. Happ | Phillies Nation Tags: absolute-force, anthony, buy, dude, james-anthony, old-budding, the-dude, [...]

     
  • Posts: 0 Corinne

    Am I the only Phillies fan that doesn’t like J.A. Happ? I never saw anything from him that makes me think he will ever be a dominant pitcher. He is constantly pitching from behind with runners on base and the mystery he enjoyed of being new to the league is now gone. Hitters know him and he will get hit. Staying cool while having runners on base is great, but I can’t stop my nagging feeling that his luck will run out and fast.

    I hope one day I eat my words, but I prayed he would be involved in any Halladay and we could get something for this kid while he has any value. He had a thoroughly enjoyable rookie season but I believe he’s a mediocre number 4 at best.

     
  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    As for J.A Happ: He had an amazing year, and hopefully he won’t be too far behind this coming season. The guy has a lot of talent, but i’d like to see how everything balances out for him. Also Hamels should have a better year than last year, and that much I am nearly positive about.

     
  • Posts: 0 Corinne

    That should read, “I prayed he would be involved in any Halladay deal.” Apologies.

     
  • Posts: 0 PhxPhilly

    Until I really started reviewing their salaries, I did not realize how ‘old’ the Phillies are. The only young and cheap guys worth anything are Happ and Ruiz. That means the other 20+ players are getting veteran salaries. And Happ and Ruiz are both over 25!
    However most of the players are paid appropriately. If Happ becomes Andy Petitte the Phillies are going to be very please. However, if he becomes Kyle Kendrick then they will have trouble winning the division.

    I looked at the Cardinals roster and they are ‘capped’ at $100M (Phillies are 40%! higher) but obviously will not have 40% more wins or revenue. They only are paying three big stars Holliday, Pujols, and Carpenter. Mid-level guys are also reasonable with Lohse, Wainright, Penny, Ludwick. Lugo is a special case. That nearly matches Blanton, Hamels, Moyer and Werth. However, Lidge, Ibanez, Rollins, Polanco and Victorino are the big differences. I just found the analysis interesting. I can see why many teams are realizing how valuable young talent is and not spending $ on middle of the road free agents.

     
  • Posts: 0 Manny

    Happ is $$$$$$$$$$

     
  • Posts: 0 shag beta sigma delta

    I do not get how a few of you think Happ will not be a good #3 or #4 starter. He came up 08 for a short stint and pitched really well. Then last year despite starting in the pen, which he was not thrilled about, pitched well in relief, and then when he got the chance to start he was consistant and almost dominant. With this offense, I can see Happ winning 15 games if not more. He never loses his composure, and is a team first guy, how can you ask for anything more

     
  • Posts: 0 Griffin

    Count me among the Happ skeptics. He was a mediocre pitcher when no runners were on base who suddenly turned into Greg Maddux with runners on. Don’t expect anything near ’09.

    I’m rooting for him, but his K/9 innings, hits/9, k/bb, BA with RISP and strand % all say that 2009′s ERA was a fluke.

     
  • Posts: 0 James Kay

    @Corine and all other apologetic posters: HOF player/manager Leo Durocher, author of great baseball quotes like “Nice guys finish last” and “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you an idiot” also gave us this one “Never apologize for an error”. Skeptics and negative critics should clarify their previous postings without the spineless and hollow apology. It damages your credibilty and respect.

    Relative to the price/value ratio, Happ is far more valuable than Hamels. Not even close.

     
  • Posts: 0 Brooks

    My first thought about Myers being on the Astros – Oh no.. when Houston comes to town and Brett is pitching – look for the Brett we all had high hopes for, look for a 3 hit masterpiece – I hate it when x-Phils come to town!

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    Comparing Happ’s value and Hamels’ value is a little premature. Hamels so far has had one mediocre season (even then, he had 10 wins) in 3+, a season after his innings pitched had increased tremendously. Happ has only pitched 1+ season, and hasn’t had the huge innings increase yet. Also, Happ is actually OLDER than Hamels, so Hamels has a chance to pitch more years. While one might argue that Happ had the better 2009, one could never decide based on that alone that he’ll always be the bigger bargain. Hamels’ contract is bigger right now, but in his first few seasons he didn’t make all that much; even in 2008 he came in at under a million.

    I’ll grant that Happ, so far, has been really good. But let’s see how he does with the sophomore jinx before we claim him as the greatest thing since the Apollo landing.

     
  • Posts: 0 Miller024

    I remain a happ skeptic as well. As much as I appriciated his strong rookie campaign, I continue to remain a typical Philly skeptic. I hope he proves me wrong. As long as he can continue to hide the ball well hitters should still find it difficult to figure him out, that is his key to success.

     
  • Posts: 0 Billy Craig

    Charlie killed Happ in the playoffs. Why not start him. Also why not sign Myers. We have a very poor rotation after Doc. Who knows what will happen with Hamels. He is up in the air. Happ could go the same way if teams catch on to him. Then who..Blanton and Moyer. Please. Myers could of been a guy to plug in there.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    We have a very poor rotation after Doc? My predictions for 2010

    Doc 21- 8 2.99
    Cole 16-11 3.51
    Joe 15-11 3.71
    Happ 14-12 4.02

    5th Starter – 10-11 4.44

    I don’t care who the fifth starter is. Both those stats are based on what 5th starters do. Is that a bad rotation? I think not. I think Cole could have more upside than my #s, but to be safe, that what I put. Problems?

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    Actually, that seems like a fair prediction to me. Cole and Happ could do a little better than you projected, and Blanton could do a little worse…but it all looks pretty realistic.

     
  • Posts: 1435 Pat Gallen

    Avatar of Pat Gallen

    Brooks: How could I give him higher than an 8.4? He wasnt Tim Lincecum or Roy Halladay, who would have goten 9.5 or higher. I would say that 10/10 is probably the greatest season by a pitcher ever. So, to get an 8.4 is pretty damn good in my eyes.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    Pat – I think people are confused as to whether its a straight score OR their score “relative to expectations”. Perhaps you should clear that up. Also…Scott Podsednick 1y/1.75 to the Royals? Its a world gone mad I tell ya. Thats what Ruben gotta wait for..that kinda thing.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 Dudley Monk

    I think Happ is the real deal. Also, I think we will be pleasantly surprised by Kyle Kendrick as the 5th starter. He seems like he wants to prove himself and showed some nice flashes of excellence last year. Always optimistic !!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 j reed

    I think people are confused as to whether its a straight score OR their score “relative to expectations”.

    Beer Goggles defined

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    Dipsy…

    Happ’s gonna do better than 14-12.

    More like 12-6 or 13-8

     
  • Posts: 0 bfo_33

    Happ has an average curveball, decent change-up, and and a curve that needs some work. He hides the ball very well, and rarely gets rattled. If he can improve his curveball and change a little, he could be a very solid #3 pitcher. Agree with Dipsy on the starters, except I’d switch Happ and Blanton (assuming the curveball improves even a little). Blanton’s era runs @4, don’t see a reason for a drop.
    I’m also a little confused on the ratings – either Lee was ranked too high, or there is far more emphasis on playoff wins. When we needed wins, Happ was there.

     
  • Posts: 0 Joel V.

    Happ is key this year. He has to have a good season and not go into a sophomore slump. Hamels as well.

     
  • Posts: 0 j reed

    bfo_33 –
    “Happ has an average curveball, decent change-up, and and a curve that needs some work”
    do you mean Happ’s slider in place of curve?

     
  • Posts: 0 The Dipsy

    I think that Happ has a real good change, not a decent one. And he spots his fastball well and can really move it around. I like Blanton to step it up a little this year. He had a horrible first half last year who he would have had a real nice era.

    The Dipsy

     
  • Posts: 0 mikemike

    I really dont like the phillies rotation at all. For a national league champ, too many question marks. Hamels is a questionmark, happ, blanton I dont think is anything and 5 th start volgenber or whatever his name is comeon.

     
  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    I admit that i’m a bit uneasy about the rotation as well right now, but we should hopefully feel a bit better by spring training.

     
  • Posts: 0 Chuck

    What don’t you like about the rotation?? Oh, I knw…the fact that Cliff Lee’s not part of it..

    Halladay…a given
    Hamels….bounces back from last year
    Happ….no sophomore slump
    Blanton….SOLID #3 or #4
    Moyer/Vogelsong/whoever….that’s why they’re #5

    Last year…going into the season we had…

    Hamels
    Myers
    Blanton
    Moyer
    #5….Happ/Park competing…eventually Park

    Now you tell me if we’re not sitting BETTER this year than last??

     
  • Posts: 0 WFC010

    Don’t get me wrong, I LIKE the rotation…it’s just that I feel a bit uneasy about what’s going to happen with Hamels, and to a lesser extent…Happ. Obviously I expect Hamels to do better than last year, but how much better can we reasonably hope for?

    Then there’s Happ who had a great ’09 Season, and I expect him to have a good season…but not as good as last season. Blanton is a given to have a reliable and solid, but non-flashy season.

    This has nothing to do with having Lee or not(who we’d only have had for 1 more year anyway), and everything to do with how Hamels does from here on out. And again, I expect Hamels to have a good year…but I can’t lie and say that i’m not uneasy a little anyway. How could anyone NOT feel at least a little bit uneasy right now, and they are lying if they say otherwise. Although I expect a good year out of everyone, I think there will be some uneasiness in the air until Spring Training and/or the regular season starts. That’s natural and expected after the problems we had last year, and your full of it if you aren’t the slightest bit worried.

     
  • Posts: 0 j reed

    Vogelsong…with that name sounds like he should be wearing ice skates and missing teeth.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    Myers had gone downhill two straight years. Speed was down, slider not as effective. Phils rotation is automatically better with Halladay at the top, Hamels replacing Myers, Happ replacing Moyer, and Moyer or Kendrick replacing Park. There are ALWAYS concerns with a rotation, but this year’s is better than 2009′s, and better, too than at the start of 2008.

    I always thought a Vogelsong was a East German car with a two cylinder, two stroke engine and particle board body panels.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    Oops! Left out Blanton, who actually replaces Myers, with Happ moving up past Moyer. That’s one more better pitcher than we used to have.

     
  • Posts: 0 The Second John

    I think that Happ will be the only real question mark going into the season for me. I think that Halladay will be Halladay, and hamels will rebound. Blanton will be the consistent #3, or 4.

    As for Happ, his stats say he was lucky last year. His xFIP was 4.49. His FIP was 4.33. Also, he was unbelievable with runners in scoring position last year. That will be hard to sustain. His BABIP was .270 which was abnormally low for the league’s .303.

    As for Happ’s pitches last year, he threw a fastball, cutter, curve, and a change. His curve had a negative pitch type value as it was -4.2

     
  • Posts: 0 schwalmy

    Can anyone tell me why we are talking to sheets when bedard is out there ?????? and wern’t we supposed to have a hard on for zack duke according to manuel…..A month till pitchers and catchers and bedard is a cheap option!!!!!

     
  • Posts: 0 Sgt. Schmidt

    Happ hasn’t pitched in the majors too long, but we all know that we have something special here with this kid. If he stays healthy and stays as poised as he was last season, he might even step ahead of both Hamels and Blanton in the rotation if Hamels was to go off the deep end again (which I know he wont)

    About Hamels…It’s funny how everyone forgets that he was a star 3 years straight in a row (06-07-08). The man has ONE bad year, says some dumb things in the media, now everyone wants to send him packing to wherever, for whoever. Hamels WILL bounce back this season, and between Halladay, Hamels, and Happ…Guys…Hello…Thats EASILY 50-60 wins on paper right there! Than you have BLANTON who can be electrifying most of the time. I don’t think you guys realize were witnessing something special here in Philadelphia.

     
 
Leave a Comment

>> Create a new Phillies Nation account.
>> Already registered with Phillies Nation? Log in here.
>> Comment without logging in:






Please ensure your comments comply with our Comment Policy.