The latest of the 2021 MLB Signings come in the shape of left-handed starting pitcher J.A. Happ. According to Jon Heyman, the contract will be worth $8m.
Happ, 38, has a wealth of experience that should benefit the Twins for the upcoming 2021 season. He has spent the last two-and-a-half years with the New York Yankees, where he made 50 appearances, finishing with an ERA of 4.13 and 245 Ks in 274.1 innings.
2021 MLB Signings: The Benefit to the Twins
This move works out well for all parties involved. Happ gets to continue his established career, the Twins get an experienced member of the rotation, and the Yankees decided to sign Corey Kluber to take his place in their rotation.
He will more than likely fit in in the fourth starting slot, just behind Jose Berrios, Kenta Maeda, and Michael Pineda. The Twins will be hoping he can aid them in their bid to win a third straight AL Central title. His role will likely replace that of Jake Odorizzi, and the Twins couldn"t have asked for a more experienced replacement.
After being drafted by the Phillies in the 3rd Round in 2004, he made his big league debut in 2007, going on to make 47 appearances for them, albeit with 16 relief appearances. He has spent time with Houston Astros (three years), Toronto Blue Jays (six years), Pittsburgh Pirates (one year), Seattle Mariners ( one year), and finally the New York Yankees. His overall statistics read 123-92, with an ERA of 3.98, and 1539 Ks in 1741.1 innings.
2021 MLB Signings: Happ"s Pitching Arsenal
Happ usually relies on a five-pitch arsenal, although his curveball has been used consistently less in the last few seasons. His main pitch is his four-seam fastball that sits around 92mph. Despite the lack of real velocity, it has some movement and causes problems to left-handed batters as it moves away.
Although it reaches the low-90s regularly, it is one of the harder fastballs to hit in the league due to pounding the zone in the right places.
The graphic shows how consistent he is with his pitches, and how he emphasizes the same area for each pitch. Having an average of just .175 against his fastballs shows the control he has over them and the command to strike batters out.
His secondaries consist of a slider and changeup. There are some similarities with the movement of his four-seamer, but he takes the velocity off of it to create something different for the batters. Of the 2021 MLB signings, the Twins are hoping this isn"t the last one before spring training.
2021 MLB Signings: Final Thoughts
There were some question marks after his poor start to the 2020 season with the Yankees, but a 30-appearance season should see him create some momentum and be a useful addition to the rotation. He has a wealth of experience, and this could prove useful as the Twins try to hold off a young and resurgent Chicago White Sox for the AL Central. This could be one of the most under-rated 2021 MLB Signings of this off-season period.
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