It’s a shame Bryan LaHair doesn’t qualify for the NL Rookie of the Year Award.
Once Major League players accumulate 130 at-bats or spend 45 days on the active roster of a Major League club they’re no longer considered rookies.
LaHair basically played just enough with Seattle in 2008 to extinguish his rookie status: 136 at-bats, 45 games played.
But it took LaHair another three season before he rejoined a big league roster, playing 20 games with Chicago last September.
For all intents and purposes, the guy’s still a rook, but it seems LaHair just can’t avoid the middle ground in his career.
Many view LaHair as a Four-A hitter. MLB views him as a veteran. What’s a guy to do?
So far, all LaHair’s done is hit. And when compared to the eligible National League Rookie of the Year candidates he’s unquestionably atop the list.
Despite 22 more at-bats, LaHair matches Nationals’ 2B Steve Lombardozzi’s .364 batting average—best among rookies. He’s also tied with Reds’ SS Zack Cozart’s eight extra base hits.
When LaHair’s not tied, however, he’s leading all rookies in the major offensive categories: HR (4), RBI (11), Walks (9), SLG% (.727) and OPS% (1.190).
And when he’s not leading a category he’s generally in second: OBP% (.463), runs (7) and hits (16).
If there’s any blemish on LaHair’s season it’s his 18 strikeouts and occasional spotty defense, both of which should improve throughout the campaign.
It’s far too early to know if LaHair will hit this consistently over the course of an entire season. But there’s no reason to believe LaHair couldn’t win the ROY Award–other than fact he’s technically no longer a newjack.
Lost hardware aside, LaHair’s hitting like a true veteran and that’s plenty good for me. Plenty good.