The Minnesota Twins have bolstered their rotation with the addition of veteran pitcher J.A. Happ. The 38-year-old had a solid bounceback campaign in 2020 despite the shortened season. Happ joins a Twins team that has not been particularly active this offseason, but still has plenty of talent to compete in the American League Central. Jeff Passan reported the agreement on Twitter.
Left-hander J.A. Happ and the Minnesota Twins are in agreement on a one-year deal, pending physical, sources tell ESPN.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) January 20, 2021
Career Overview of J.A. Happ
Happ rebounded in 2020 during his final year with the New York Yankees. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 42 strikeouts, while giving up 15 walks over nine starts. That was a notable improvement from the 4.91 ERA he posted in 2019 across 161 and one-third innings of work. His FIP was only 4.57, indicating some good luck, but the left-handed starter was still able to strikeout over 21 percent of batters. One huge factor in Happ’s success was an incredible .223 BABIP, which was the ninth-lowest of any starting pitcher with at least 40 innings pitched.
The Philadelphia Phillies originally drafted Happ in the third round of the 2004 MLB Draft. He was a member of the Phillies from 2007 through 2010 until being traded to the Houston Astros. Happ has pitched for six different teams in 14 seasons, but his most successful run came with the Toronto Blue Jays. The Northwestern product piled up 745 and one-third innings for the Canadian franchise with a 3.88 ERA, 3.95 FIP, and 691 strikeouts over six seasons in Toronto. Happ earned down-ballot Cy Young votes for a 20-win campaign during the 2016 season.
J.A. Happ’s Role with the Minnesota Twins
There is a very good chance that Happ takes the fourth spot in Minnesota’s rotation. The Twins already have Kenta Maeda, Jose Berrios, and Michael Pineda anchoring the top three spots, but the back of the rotation is open for competition. The newest member of the organization is a great, low-risk option for 2021. J.A. Happ joins a team that is focused on making some noise in the American League Central.
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