James Anthony Happ is scheduled to start today's game against the Mets. Given the Phillies need for starting pitcher, a successful debut by J.A. will likely lead to another start. At this point in the season, catching some lightening in a bottle becomes a more sound strategy for both major league teams and fantasy ones.
Happ is one of those pitching prospects who have quietly produced at each level on their way towards the majors without attracting the media spotlight of the prospecting mavens and fantasy players alike because nothing in his performance is exemplary. He was drafted out of Northwestern and been productive at every level. All I see in his professional performance that may have prevented him from becoming more well-known is his age is slightly high, and his minor league progression did not go smoothly. The 80 innings in High A last season is odd after finishing 2005 in AA, albeit for just one start.
However, he is spoke of favorably by Baseball America despite the lack of regular media attention. He was ranked 8th in the Phillies organization by BA in their 2007 Prospect Handbook:
John Sickels also speaks well of Happ in his The Baseball Prospect Book 2007:
As Mr. Sickels mentions, Happ has been very good at keeping the ball in the ballpark with this season's .87 HR/9 being nothing unusual for him. The is a good thing because he will be pitching in a HR-favorable home ballpark.
I like Happ as a gamble for teams that are beginning to chase Wins, and his @9.0 K/9 could make him a decent gamble for Ks, too.