When Ian Happ was demoted by the Chicago Cubs this spring, it' was almost a surety that the plan was to see him back in the big leagues by the end of April. Happ used to be a frontrunner to hit leadoff.

It appears those plans are going to take a bit longer to come to fruition. It's still early, as the Minor League season is even younger than the nine games most major league teams have played. Still, Happ has struggled to get off to a solid start to the 2019 season.

Cubs looking for Happ to cut down on strikeouts

To be clear, the big club loves the fact that the utility man appears to be fairly patient at the plate.

For parts of last year, he was seeing the most pitches per plate appearance of any Cub. The problem was that when he went deep into a count, he tended to end that at-bat with a strikeout.

There have been people pointing out that Happ has a bit of a hole in his swing. After a disastrous Spring Training, it appears Chicago decided it couldn't wait any longer to get him to work on it. A good spring by outfielder Mark Zagunis allowed the team to send their utility man to Iowa.

While he was noted to have originally taken the news very poorly, it appears that his attitude has adjusted.

Reports out of the minor league clubhouse state that he has done everything that was asked of him when it comes to his approach. The problem is that a good attitude has not allowed him to actually look better at the plate.

In his first four games for Iowa, Ian Happ is sporting a slash line of .222/.263/.333.

While some of that poor start can indeed be shrugged away as "it's early," especially the two doubles and six RBIs he's amassed already, it's the strikeouts that have got to concern Chicago Cub brass.

Happ has struck out seven times in 19 plate appearances. That means he's struck out 37 percent of the time.

In AAA. When strikeouts are the thing he's supposed to be working on. Even if his slash line improves greatly over the next few weeks, it's pretty clear he won't be coming back to the big leagues until he can start showing a better ability at putting the ball in play.

Nico Hoerner looking good as he rides the fast train

This is only Nico Hoerner's second year of professional baseball, but the Chicago Cubs have to like what they have seen from the minor leaguer so far. He spent most of Spring Training with the big league club, and during that time, hit an astounding .533 in 13 games.

He's started the regular season at AA West Tennessee and while his batting average isn't sparkling, the rest of his slash line should have fans and the front office doing a double take.

The Chicago Cubs farmhand boasts an on-base percentage of .438 and an OPS of .771. Speaking of cutting down on strikeouts, he has walked four times, while striking out just three times in 16 plate appearances. That's the kind of performance that will have the Chicago Cubs taking a long look at where he should play next, should it continue.

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