Twins Sign J.A. Happ to a One Year Deal

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    The Twins signed left-hander J.A. Happ to a one year, $8 million deal yesterday.

    Happ, now 38, has been solid throughout his career with a 3.98 ERA in 12 full seasons in the MLB. Over the past couple years, the velocity on his fastball and slider has been slightly decreasing, and increasing on his curveball and changeup. Neither of those are great to see but nothing to worry about.

    Since 2018, Happ has a 4.15 ERA, 4.57 FIP, 4.31 xFIP, and a 4.20 SIERA. He doesn’t walk a lot of batters, but he doesn’t strike many out either. Happ has an 8.69 K/9, 2.67 BB/9, 3.26 K/BB, and 16.2 K-BB% since 2018. He does give up a lot of homeruns though. Happ has a 1.60 HR/9 over the last three seasons, which could be partly attributed to him pitching at Yankee Stadium. His HR/9 in Toronto before going to the Yankees was 1.04, and 1.60 after going to the Yankees. He pitched 388.1 innings in those three seasons.

    Happ’s pitch arsenal consists of five pitches: 4-seam fastball (thrown 44.3% of the time in 2020), sinker (22%), slider (18.7%), changeup (13.9%), and a curveball (1.1%). His fastball and sinker have been good throughout his whole career. He throws a fastball with above average movement in the upper part of the zone with a 22.1% Whiff%. His sinker also has above average movement with a 21.8% Whiff%. His slider has below average movement but has a 31.7% Whiff%. He has a solid changeup with a 16.1% Whiff%. His curveball is pretty average but isn’t thrown a whole lot. His curveball had a 25.0% Whiff%. Happ doesn’t give up a lot of hard contact. Over the last three seasons he produced a 40.5% GB% and a 35.6% FB%.

    J.A. Happ’s 2020 MLB Percentile Rankings
    (Baseball Savant)

    There is likely something the Twins see in Happ that most fans don’t see. I don’t think they’d pay him $8 million if they didn’t. I like the signing because the Twins are getting a solid left-handed 4th/5th starter in Happ. It’s a solid depth signing for the Twins. I think there will be another move for another starting pitcher like James Paxton, Jake Odorizzi, Masahiro Tanaka, or someone else. Now that the market is pretty active, I think the Twins will start to make more moves.

    Current Twins Rotation:

    1. Kenta Maeda
    2. Jose Berrios
    3. Michael Pineda
    4. J.A. Happ
    5. Randy Dobnak
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