The turning point of the defending world champions' season came with the July 13 crosstown trade that delivered Jose Quintana. The Cubs, after a sluggish 45–45 first half, won their first six games of the second half and 14 of their first 17 to turn the NL Central race around. The 28-year-old Quintana pitched to a 3.74 ERA and 3.25 FIP in 14 starts as a Cub, but even with the rotation's second-half resurgence, all of the team's likely postseason starters—Jake Arrieta, Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks being the others—declined from last year's sterling performances in terms of ERA and FIP.
The 23-year-old Happ, a 2015 first-round pick who came up in mid-May, hit .253/.328/.514 with 24 homers and a 114 OPS+ while splitting time between centerfield, second base and both outfield corners. Expect manager Joe Maddon to utilize him as one of the Chicago lineup's many moving parts, along with Ben Zobrist and Jon Jay.