Ian Happ’s Left-Handed Adjustments Paying Off Against Inside Fastballs

Much of Ian Happ’s trouble last season stemmed from an inability to hit inside fastballs from the left side. But since returning from Iowa, Happ is doing a much better job of handling those pitches.

In 2018, the switch-hitting utilityman had a whiff probability greater than 70% against inside fastballs. He was also at an alarming 30% whiff rate against fastballs low and inside. After visualizing these whiffs, it’s actually not that surprising Happ was sent down to work.

But since Happ’s recall, the probability that he whiffs against that inside has dropped to essentially zero. Whoa.

Pitchers are still trying to attack Happ up and in with fastballs, but he isn’t biting.

Does anyone want to guess where Happ’s first homer of this season was located? Yep, that’s right: A 96 mph fastball on the inside portion of the plate

I know some of Happ’s underlying peripherals aren’t as dramatically different (69% contact on 32% o-swing), but the overall averages don’t tell the complete story. He is a powerhouse from both sides of the dish who was eaten alive by inside fastballs on the left side last season, but now he’s adjusted and is hitting those pitches almost 500 feet.

That’ll do.

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