J.A. Happ
J.A. Happ
36-Year-Old PitcherSP
New York Yankees
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Happ is a 35-year-old lefty coming off another solid season by both real baseball measures as well as fantasy ones. He has pitched in the AL East since the second half of the 2012 season, yet has not had an ERA over 3.70 since 2014. It is true that the league-wide strikeout rate continues to rise annually, but Happ's improvements over the last three outpace the league's overall rate. He has cut back on his breaking ball usage for more changeups and that led to career-best contact (78.3%) and swinging-strike rates (10.4%) this past season. Happ has made 30 or more starts in four of the past five seasons, but has eclipsed the 180-inning mark just once. He returned to the Yankees on a two-year deal in free agency and projects to open the season as the team's No. 4 starter. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a two-year, $34 million contract with the Yankees in December of 2018. The contract includes a $17 million vesting option for 2021.
Grabs first quality start
PNew York Yankees
April 17, 2019
Happ gave up three runs on six hits and one walk across 6.1 innings during Wednesday's win over the Red Sox. He struck out four but did not factor in the decision.
Happ's rough start to the season looked as though it would continue Wednesday as he allowed three runs on two homers during the first two innings, but he finally settled in and put together a solid outing. The veteran left-hander has a 7.23 ERA, 1.66 WHIP and 17:6 K:BB over 18.2 innings and lines up to face the Angels on Monday.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .197 280 63 14 51 8 1 6
Since 2017vs Right .253 1164 289 89 269 47 3 45
2019vs Left .368 19 3 0 7 1 0 1
2019vs Right .300 66 14 6 18 5 0 5
2018vs Left .171 143 37 9 22 4 0 2
2018vs Right .237 590 156 42 128 23 1 25
2017vs Left .198 118 23 5 22 3 1 3
2017vs Right .265 508 119 41 123 19 2 15
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
Since 2017Home 4.24 1.31 195.1 14 13 0 9.2 2.9 1.6
Since 2017Away 3.20 1.14 146.1 13 6 0 9.4 2.5 1.0
2019Home 8.16 1.67 14.1 0 2 0 7.5 2.5 3.1
2019Away 4.15 1.62 4.1 0 0 0 10.4 4.2 2.1
2018Home 4.31 1.18 108.2 10 4 0 9.7 2.5 1.7
2018Away 2.61 1.06 69.0 7 2 0 9.9 2.7 0.9
2017Home 3.36 1.44 72.1 4 7 0 8.7 3.5 1.1
2017Away 3.70 1.19 73.0 6 4 0 8.9 2.2 1.1
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Stat Review
How does J.A. Happ compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
90.9 mph
Strand %
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring J.A. Happ
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Elbow inflammation sidelined Happ early in the season, but he hit his stride shortly after his return in late May, allowing three runs or fewer in 11 of 12 starts spanning the course of two months. He endured a couple hiccups in August, but Happ finished strong with a 1.99 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 32:8 K:BB in five September starts (31.2 innings). The peripherals were even better than they were in 2016, as Happ added more than a full strikeout to his K/9 and only gave a little back with the walks (2.9 BB/9) and homers (1.1 HR/9). He nearly doubled his changeup usage, upping it from 6.5 percent to 12.1 percent, and that helped keep opposing hitters off the low-90s fastball. He was still a little too hittable against right-handers and the offense may not be any good next year, but Happ has made 25-plus starts in each of the last four seasons and his performance has been steady since Ray Searage worked his magic a few years ago.
Happ won a career-high 20 games in 2016, tying him for second in MLB, while posting a career-best 3.18 ERA that was good for sixth-best in the AL. He also set personal records in games started (32) and innings pitched (195), while his 1.17 WHIP was good for 10th in the AL. It should be noted that he also benefitted from 6.9 runs of support per start, second-most in MLB, en route to his 20-win campaign. The wins masked some of the 33-year-old's fairly pedestrian numbers, such as a 7.5 K/9 and 2.8 K/BB. Happ also posted a weak 4.01 FIP and was somewhat lucky with a low .268 BABIP, which was fifth-best among AL starters. Most indicators would suggest that the 11-year veteran had a very fortunate season, and Happ's performance moving forward will likely regress back near his career averages. He is a valuable pitcher, but the draft day price tag may be a little unreasonable.
Happ gave Pittsburgh an unexpected boost after coming over from Seattle at the trade deadline last year. The lefty limited batters to a .577 OPS while registering a 69:13 K:BB ratio (9.8 K/9) as a Pirate. At 33 years of age, it will be interesting to find out whether Happ simply got hot in an new environment or whether he’s finally figured things out with the help of Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage. It’s easy to forget that Happ posted a 4.64 ERA and 1.40 WHIP (in 108.2 IP) with Seattle before the move to the Bucs, which makes projecting 2016 that much harder. After signing a three-year, $36 million deal with the Blue Jays in November, Happ returns to the place that he called home for nearly two-and-a-half seasons, where he will add depth in the Blue Jays' pitching staff.
Happ has a modicum of skill that affords runs of usefulness in the fantasy game, but determining when those runs will come isn’t always easy. For example, he was actually great at home last year despite pitching in a hitter-friendly park like Rogers Centre. The lefty managed a 3.15 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 3.7 K/BB ratio in 91 home innings. Of course, he canceled it all out with a 5.67 ERA in 67 road innings. The biggest surprise about his home success was the fact that it came with a 1.4 HR/9. Traded to Seattle in November, spacious Safeco Field should protect him from home runs this season. He has lowered his ERA in each of the last three seasons, but when you start at 5.35, that isn’t necessarily an impressive feat. Happ is the kind of the fifth starter who gets drafted late when people are just looking for a name who has a starting role, but you would be much better off speculating on a highly skilled middle reliever who will actually help you, even with a small amount of innings.
Happ lost a good portion of this 2013 season to injury, after taking a vicious comebacker off the head. He finished the year with a 4.53 ERA over 92.2 innings, while posting BB/9 (4.4) and K/9 (7.5) marks that were right in line with his past numbers. The soft-tossing lefty has always piled up a surprising number of strikeouts for his style, but he doesn't have much upside and is still likely to open 2014 as the Blue Jays' fifth starter or as a long man out of the bullpen.
Happ started six games for Toronto before a broken foot ended his season. While his 4.79 ERA is discouraging, his FIP (4.01) looks more promising thanks to an increase in K/9 (8.96), and drop in his BB/9 (3.48) along with his increased ability to induce groundballs. Happ should be ready for spring training, but Toronto's acquisition of R.A. Dickey should result in Happ being moved back to the bullpen in a swingman role.
Happ had a disappointing season, but not because something drastically changed with his skill set. He's still got league average strikeout stuff and still walks far too many batters. The big difference came in his hitability: Happ's HR/9IP rate spiked from 0.82 in 2010 to 1.21 in 2011, while he gave up over a hit and a half more per nine innings than he did just one year prior. He'll be a huge wild card heading into 2012 drafts due to his inconsistency the past few years. Still, don't expect him to put up the strong numbers like he did in 2009.
Acquired from Philadelphia in the Roy Oswalt trade, Happ was a solid addition to the Astros' rotation. In 13 starts, Happ went 5-4 with a 3.75 ERA and a 1.319 WHIP. While the walk rate is a little scary (4.8 BB/9IP), Happ is a steady, innings-eater type. His stuff doesn't dominate, but it should keep the team in the game long enough to earn his share of wins. He figures to hold down the No. 3 spot in the rotation for the Astros again in 2011. His strikeout rate increased to 7.6 K/9IP following the trade - if that sticks he could beat his projected ERA here.
Happ began last season in the Phillies' bullpen before moving into the rotation in late May. He quickly established himself as one of the team's more consistent starters and finished the season as a Rookie of the Year candidate. Happ features a high-80s fastball and keeps hitters off balance with good deception and use of his offspeed pitches. If Happ can make some strides with his control while also pushing his strikeout rate up towards the ratios he posted in the minors he could be in for another good season. However, if his walk rate slips and his BABIP normalizes (the .270 BABIP from last season is not likely to be repeated), Happ could find himself with an ERA well above the 2.93 ERA he posted in 2009.
Happ, who from late July until the end of the season was shifted between Triple-A Lehigh Valley and the Phillies roster, went 1-0 with a 3.69 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 26 strikeouts in 31.2 innings in his time with Philadelphia. Four of his eight appearances came as starts. His effectiveness was a bit of a surprise for Philadelphia, and the Phillies' staff even trusted him enough to give him three innings of relief duty in the NLCS against the Dodgers. Happ should compete with Kyle Kendrick, Carlos Carrasco and Andrew Carpenter in spring training for the No. 5 spot in the Phillies rotation and is worth taking a chance on late in drafts if he wins the job.
Happ was scratched from pitching in the Arizona Fall League because of what the Phillies are calling a "mild left elbow sprain." He's a decent prospect, but the Phillies shutting him down for the fall casts an ominous shadow over his near future.
A young lefthander in the Glendon Rusch mode, Happ has had his way with minor league hitters so far in his two-plus years as a pro. He will likely hit Philadelphia in 2007 after some time in Triple-A. Caution is advised: it often takes lefthanders who throw in the high 80s several years to become consistently effective.
More Fantasy News
Off to horrible start
PNew York Yankees
April 12, 2019
Happ (0-2) allowed six runs on nine hits with five strikeouts and two walks across four frames to take the loss Friday against the White Sox.
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Fails to pitch five innings
PNew York Yankees
April 6, 2019
Happ allowed two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and two walks across 4.1 innings in a no-decision against the Orioles on Saturday.
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Gives up four runs
PNew York Yankees
March 31, 2019
Happ (0-1) gave up four runs on five hits with one walk over four innings in a loss to the Orioles on Sunday. He struck out three.
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Struggling in spring training
PNew York Yankees
March 19, 2019
Happ has posted a 7.94 ERA and 1.50 WHIP with 12 strikeouts and one walk in Grapefruit League play this spring.
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Agreement in place with Yankees
PNew York Yankees
December 12, 2018
Happ and the Yankees "agreed to the structure" of a two-year, $34 million contract Wednesday, Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports.
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