This season, the New York Yankees couldn’t wait to see Gerrit Cole’s impact. Little did they know, it was J.A. Happ they should’ve been looking at.
Don’t get me wrong, Gerrit Cole has been phenomenal for the New York Yankees this season. However, if you were to determine the team’s Cy Young Award winner based on the second half of the season, it’s J.A. Happ who would run away with it.
Crazy, right? Prior to the 2020 MLB season, experts and analysts were looking for ways for the Yankees to unload the veteran lefty. Now, he’s likely the Number two starter in the postseason.
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The season wasn’t all rosy for Happ, either. In all actuality, to start the season he was actually the worst pitcher on the starting rotation. He was so bad (2 GS, 0-1, 10.29 ERA) that between 7/23 and 8/15 the team sought every opportunity to skip him in the rotation.
Since then, however, he’s given the organization every reason to look forward to his starts. In fact, since then, he leads all Yankees starters and has the 4th best fWAR (1.1) on the entire team.
He’s done this by striking out 35 batters and walking just FIVE while also posting a 1.93 ERA in 6 GS (37.1 IP) since August 16th. In that time, he’s even pitched into the 8th inning 2x, something no Yankee pitcher, including Cole, has done this season.
The icing on the cake came this past Saturday when the Yankees extended their win streak to 10 against the Boston Red Sox. That night, J.A. Happ did something no Yankee pitcher has done since Mike Mussina’s near-perfect game in 2001.
According to Yankees stat guru Katie Sharp, Happ became the first Yankee pitcher to toss 8+ scoreless innings, allowing 0 BB with 9 K against the Red Sox.
Two seasons ago, in 2018, the New York Yankees acquired J.A. Happ to neutralize a dynamic Red Sox often. At the time, he couldn’t deliver on his promise. Now, he’s doing that and then some.