Results tagged ‘ Bryan LaHair ’

LaHair the All-Star?

The season is just over a month in, but it’s becoming hard for fans and opposing managers alike to ignore first baseman Bryan LaHair and his thunderous bat. Then again, baseball minds have been ignoring LaHair’s career for a while now.

The 29-year-old spent nine seasons in the minors, where he posted a .295 career average. His only two stints in the big leagues were 150 plate appearances in the second half of 2008 with the Mariners and a September call-up with the Cubs last year (after hitting .331 with 38 home runs and 109 RBI in 129 games for Triple-A Iowa). But prior to Spring Training, first-year manager Dale Sveum handed LaHair the Opening Day job at first base, where he’s capitalized on his opportunity and become the most recent poster child for never giving up.

If deciding the All-Star team was based on stats alone, the left-handed slugger would be a lock. Below shows where he compares with other National League first basemen who have played at least 18 games this year:

Batting Average:
1. Bryan LaHair – .384
2. Lyle Overbay, ARI – .333
3. Adam LaRoche, WSH – .316

On-Base Percentage:
1. Bryan LaHair – .476
2. Lyle Overbay, ARI – .440
3. Joey Votto, CIN – .439

Slugging Percentage:
1. Bryan LaHair – .767
2. Adam LaRoche, WSH – . 524
3. Garrett Jones, PIT – .529

Hits:
1. Freddie Freeman, ATL – 35
2. Bryan LaHair – 33
3. Yonder Alonso, SD – 31

Runs:
1. Freddie Freeman, ATL – 22
2. Joey Votto, CIN – 16
3. Bryan LaHair – 14

Doubles:
1. Joey Votto, CIN – 15
2. Yonder Alonso, SD – 11
3. Bryan LaHair – 9

Home Runs:
1. Bryan LaHair – 8
2. Freddie Freeman, ATL – 6
3. Adam LaRoche, WSH – 5

RBI:
1. Freddie Freeman, ATL – 26
2. Todd Helton, COL – 21
3. Adam LaRoche, WSH – 19
4. Bryan LaHair – 18

Walks:
1. Joey Votto, CIN – 27
2. Bryan LaHair – 16
3. Adam LaRoche, WSH – 15

Among NL first basemen, nobody’s name pops up at the top of the league’s most important stats as often as LaHair’s. With his feel-good story, the Cubs enormous following and his gaudy numbers, we shouldn’t be surprised to see the Cubs clean-up hitter taking the field on July 10 in Kansas City along with the rest of the game’s elite.

Cast your vote for LaHair or any of your other favorite Cubs here.

Cactus Notes: Opening Day lineup revealed

Last Friday, Manager Dale Sveum set his lineup against the Dodgers the same way he plans on setting it Thursday against the Washington Nationals on Opening Day at Wrigley Field.

1. David DeJesus – RF
2. Darwin Barney – 2B
3. Starlin Castro – SS
4. Bryan LaHair – 1B
5. Alfonso Soriano – LF
6. Ian Stewart – 3B
7. Marlon Byrd – CF
8. Geovany Soto – C
9. Ryan Dempster – P

Throughout the spring, there was speculation about the top of the order, mainly over where Castro would bat. Sveum even toyed with Soriano in the leadoff spot, but after a powerful preseason (.316, six homers, five doubles), Soriano landed in the middle of the order. Barney was rewarded for his .392 Cactus League average with the second slot, and, despite a slow first half of spring, LaHair turned it around enough to secure the cleanup spot.

Cactus Notes: Sveum on bunting contest and more

MESA, Ariz.–Prior to the second intrasquad game of the season, manager Dale Sveum sat down with the media to discuss the bunting competition, some of the top prospects in camp and the new Wild Card situation.

On the Bunting Contest (where Sveum defeated Ryan Dempster yesterday)

“[Steve] Clevenger is the No. 1 guy right now. Whether he can handle the pressure or not, I don’t know. He seems to have no heart rate.”

“[Dempster] was one of the favorites and definitely spent more time practicing than anyone else. I don’t think he was real happy with yesterday’s result.”

On Bryan LaHair

“I’m impressed. I knew he had power obviously because of his numbers, but he also has tremendous leverage through the strike zone. He’s the kind of guy who can run into eight to 10 home runs a year just because of the leverage he has. What I mean by that is he can hit home runs when he’s not perfect, when he’s off balance.”

“The bottom line is the kid deserved a chance. I mean, the numbers he’s put up. Besides Rizzo, we didn’t have that incumbent coming in or anybody making $15 million in front of him or anything like that. And then what he did in winter ball was as impressive as anything. To hit 15 home runs in winter ball—nobody does that. He deserves a chance, and he’s going to get that chance.”

On Adding the Extra Wild Card Team

“It’s not something a lot of people will care for–the historians of the game–but things change over the years. The more teams you can get into the playoffs, the better it is. You can fight longer, an organization can fight longer. It puts you and a couple other teams in the running to make a trade at the deadline. I like it. I know it’s a little strange the way it’s going to be done, but for the most part, I think it’s good for baseball and good for our organization to have one extra team vying in September to make the playoffs.”

“What we saw last year going down to the last week of September probably won’t ever happen again. That many teams vying for a playoff spot. That many Wild Card and divisions coming down to the last game of the season. That’s what we all dream about as players and managers. You always want to win Wild Cards or the division by 10 games, but we know that’s not always the case. There’s so much parity going on right now in baseball. That extra team, it’s great to have. Baseball fans all over, it could come down to that last day of the season to where the whole country is watching three, four extra games because it comes down to that last Wild Card spot.”

Mesa Cubscast: Goals for 2012

MESA, Ariz.–The Cubs transitioned to game action today at HoHoKam Park after a tough few weeks of workouts. As the team continues to stress the fundamentals in preparation for Cactus League action, the players look ahead to their goals for the 2012 regular season.

Cactus Notes: Game day

MESA, Ariz.–The Cubs are gearing up for their first live game action of the season this afternoon at HoHoKam Park. After morning workouts, the club will play an intrasquad game–blue team versus white–essentially pitting the major league squad against the minor leaguers. The game starts at 1 p.m. and is open to the public.

Here are today’s intrasquad lineups:

1. Soriano – LF

2. Stewart – 3B

3. Castro – SS

4. LaHair – 1B

5. Byrd – CF

6. DeJesus – RF

7. Lalli – C

8. Barney – 2B

9. DeWitt – DH

T. Wood – P

——–

1. Jackson – CF

2. Sczcur – RF

3. Baker – 2B

4. Rizzo – 1B

5. Johnson – L

6. Vitters – 3B

7. Lake – SS

8. Brenly – C

9. Campana – DH

Wells – P

Farm Report: LaHair leads Triple-A All-Stars

Bryan LaHair has torn up Triple-A pitching this season. (Photo by Stephen Green)

Starlin Castro isn’t the only player in the Cubs organization representing his team in an All-Star Game. (Though he’s the only one with two stolen bases in one, entering in the fifth inning as a pinch-runner.)

Between Chicago and the club’s top four minor league levels, 27 players were selected to All-Star teams. Vine Line’s August issue covers Cubs farmhand experiences, from personal and developmental perspectives, at the various midsummer events.

Wednesday night’s Triple-A All-Star Game [MLB Network, 8 p.m. CT] showcases three Iowa Cubs on the Pacific League team: Bryan LaHair, Welington Castillo and John Gaub.

Starting at first base, LaHair currently shares the league lead in homers (25) and has an impressive line of .349 AVG/.418 OBP/.681 SLG. The Cubs acquired him as a minor league free agent after the 2009 season.

Marlon Byrd talked on his blog, The Byrd’s Nest, about his first-hand experience with LaHair and Castillo during his rehab appearances.

“His [LaHair’s] numbers are phenomenal. At some point, hopefully he gets a chance to help the team, whether it’s here or somewhere,” Byrd said. “Welington Castillo is looking good back there and still learning.” (more…)

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