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Playing Bryan LaHair Everyday

By bullpenbrian at 06.30.2012 3 comments.

What do the Cubs, with the worst record in MLB, gain by sitting Bryan LaHair vs. left-handed pitching?

The Cubs are (4-17) against southpaws. Their .221 avg. against left-handers ranks 15/16 in the National League.

Jeff Baker, who often serves as LaHair’s replacement against lefties, is hitting .228, 1 HR & 5 RBI against left-handers–not exactly tearing it up.

LaHair’s not hitting left-handed pitching any better (.086, 1 HR & 1 RBI), and he never will without an opportunity to prove otherwise.

It’s not that I expect LaHair to right the ship immediately against southpaws. His strikeout rate against them is eye-popping: 20 K in 35 at-bats. His five walks, however, in 22 fewer at-bats equals Baker’s walk total against lefties.

All I’m saying is why take a guy hitting .288 overall who’s second on the club in HR (13) and third in RBI (28) out of a lineup struggling to score runs?

Are the Cubs THAT much worse off playing LaHair over Baker? Hardly.

Including the remaining two games against Houston this weekend, the Cubs face at least four left-handed starters, and possibly five, over its next 10 games.

If there was ever a chance to get LaHair the experience he desperately needs against major league left-handed pitching, this is it.

Sure, LaHair’s learning curve could worsen his overall numbers and potentially lower his trade value. But what happens if LaHair shows improvement?

Unfortunately, Dale Sveum appears content never knowing.

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3 Comments

  1. J-Huff says:

    Bryan LaHair didn’t effectively hit left-handed pitchers even when he was in A+ ball around 2005. I’m sure this long-term failures in the minor leagues have more to do with his benching than the small and inconsistent sample size that they’ve gotten at MLB.

    With that said, I’d have no problem with him playing over Jeff Baker or Joe Mather.

    • bullpenbrian says:

      Thanks for the comment, J-Huff & Wrigley Regular

      Exactly what you said. And again, I don’t expect LaHair to hit the cover off the ball vs. left-handers.

      But he’s earn the opportunity to play everyday. To use Jeff Baker as a road block is ridiculous.

      Not to mention, David Ortiz struggled vs. lefties for a long, long time before figuring it out. It’s a huge reason why he became Big Papi.

      I’m not convinced LaHair’s doomed against southpaws in the long haul.

  2. I exactly agree with the comment above.

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