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.
Strikes out 10 in fourth win
PNew York Yankees
May 25, 2019
Happ (4-3) struck out ten and picked up the win in Saturday's 7-3 victory over the Royals, giving up three runs on four hits over six innings.
ANALYSIS
Happ shut out the Royals until the sixth inning, but Whit Merrifield blasted a three-run homer to tie the score. The left-hander recovered to finish the inning before turning the game over to the Yankees bullpen after 82 pitches. The 36-year-old will carry a 5.09 ERA, a 1.23 WHIP and 50:13 K:BB over 58.1 innings into a tough matchup Thursday at home against the Red Sox.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
 
 
-22%
BAA vs LHP
2019
 
 
-6%
BAA vs LHP
2018
 
 
-28%
BAA vs LHP
2017
 
 
-25%
BAA vs LHP
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .196 321 71 17 58 8 1 6
Since 2017vs Right .252 1280 314 93 296 52 3 53
2019vs Left .250 60 11 3 14 1 0 1
2019vs Right .265 182 39 10 45 10 0 13
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
 
 
-21%
ERA on Road
2019
 
 
-30%
ERA on Road
2018
 
 
-39%
ERA on Road
2017
 
 
-9%
ERA at Home
ERA WHIP IP W L SV K/9 BB/9 HR/9
Since 2017Home 4.22 1.29 211.1 16 14 0 9.0 2.8 1.6
Since 2017Away 3.34 1.12 170.0 15 6 0 9.2 2.3 1.1
2019Home 5.93 1.35 30.1 2 3 0 7.4 2.4 2.7
2019Away 4.18 1.11 28.0 2 0 0 8.0 1.6 1.6
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.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against this season's data (min 40 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
K/BB
3.85
 
K/9
7.7
 
BB/9
2.0
 
HR/9
2.2
 
Fastball
90.6 mph
 
ERA
5.09
 
WHIP
1.23
 
BABIP
.282
 
GB/FB
0.99
 
Left On Base
74.4%
 
Exit Velocity
89.2 mph
 
Barrels/BBE
9.2%
 
Spin Rate
2167 rpm
 
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
41.1%
 
Swinging Strike
11.3%
 
Advanced Pitching Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Stats Vs Today's Lineup
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring J.A. Happ
Weekly Pitcher Rankings: Grody to the Max
Yesterday
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Yesterday
Chris Bennett suggests a Rangers stack against Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who’s allowing a .381 wOBA at home to lefties.
FanDuel MLB: Wednesday Breakdown
4 days ago
Kevin Payne looks over Wednesday's slate and think Gerrit Cole could be headed for another big performance at home against the White Sox.
DraftKings MLB: Monday Picks
6 days ago
Christopher Olson delivers his insights for an eight-game DraftKings evening slate Monday
FanDuel MLB: Monday Breakdown
6 days ago
FanDuel's Monday slate features several big pitchers, but Kevin Payne thinks Mike Minor could return the best value, especially in tournaments.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
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
Starting Game 1 Saturday
PNew York Yankees
May 24, 2019
Happ will start Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader against the Royals, James Wagner of The New York Times reports.
ANALYSIS
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Hit hard in no-decision
PNew York Yankees
May 20, 2019
Happ gave up six runs on nine hits and one walk while striking out three through 3.2 innings in a no-decision against the Orioles on Monday.
ANALYSIS
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Improves to 3-3
PNew York Yankees
May 15, 2019
Happ (3-3) allowed three runs on five hits with three strikeouts and no walks across 5.1 innings against the Orioles during the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader.
ANALYSIS
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Starting Game 1 of doubleheader
PNew York Yankees
May 14, 2019
Happ has been confirmed as the starter for the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader against the Orioles, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Earns second victory
PNew York Yankees
May 9, 2019
Happ (2-3) picked up the win versus Seattle on Thursday, allowing no runs on one hit and three walks while striking out seven.
ANALYSIS
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