Is there any good reason Bryan LaHair shouldn’t be in the Cubs everyday starting lineup?
Since his big league promotion on September 2, LaHair is hitting .433 in 30 at-bats. More notably, he’s also shown a great deal of patience at the plate and a knack for hitting in the clutch–all good signs for the 28-year-old in proving he’s a ready major league caliber player for 2012.
LaHair’s solo job to deep center field on Saturday proved to be the game-winning run against the lowly Astros.
Last Tuesday he crushed a dramatic two-out bottom of the ninth HR against Mike Leake to send the game into extra innings, and four days later he came off the bench and doubled to set the stage for the Cubs 5-4 come from behind victory against the Mets.
That’s exactly the kind of production one would expect from the PCL’s 2011 Player of the Year, given to LaHair who led the minor leagues, while setting the Iowa franchise-record, with 38 HR.
Additionally, he hit .331 overall, had 76 extra-base hits, 109 RBI, 303 total bases, a .664 slugging mark and a 1.070 OPS to boot! And since joining the Cubs LaHair hasn’t missed a beat at the plate.
Your guess is as good as mine as to why Mike Quade hasn’t penciled LaHair into his everyday starting lineup, especially considering the Cubs are dreadful with RISP. But that’s a minor frustration with two weeks left in the season.
What the Cubs choose to do with LaHair, a natural first baseman, in combination with Carlos Pena’s expiring contract, is the real question.
My gut feeling is the Cubs will offer Pena a two-year deal, which I hope spells a position change for LaHair, and not the end of his tenure on the North Side.
Losing a Minor League Player of the Year makes about as much sense as playing him off the bench in September. And at some point you would think the Cubs would get this guy into the everyday starting lineup, if not this year, then next season.