What if I told you the Cubs have a first baseman at their Triple-A affiliate that is currently hitting .333/.409/.655/1.065 to go along with 29 home runs and 80 RBIs with the Iowa Cubs. Should the Cubs all of sudden forget about the potential pursuit of Prince Fielder this off-season, and just anoint this slugging minor leaguer as their starting first baseman in 2012. The player’s name you ask. none other than Bryan LaHair. The same Bryan LaHair that was essentially the Micah Hoffpauir of the Seattle Mariners’ farm system. Nonetheless, the cry to get LaHair to the major leagues has started.
FanSided’s very own Seedling To The Stars is a site that focuses on prospects and minor league baseball in general. Nathaniel Stoltz is the lead writer for Seedling To the Starts, and he suggests that LaHair should be in the major leagues. But instead of playing at first base, where he has played most of his games while with the Cubs organization, Stoltz writes that LaHair would be solution to the Cubs outfield problems. The Cubs outfielders this season have produced a WAR of 2.4, and Stoltz believes that LaHair could improve that figure. The aforementioned Micah Hoffpaur was also once considered to be the Cubs solution in the outfield, but, Hoffpauir is now playing his baseball in Japan.
Don’t get me wrong, LaHair has been one of the best power hitters in the Cubs’ farm system since coming over from the Seatte Mariners after the 2009 season. But we have seen this act before. Whether it was Hoffpauir, or the favored Jake Fox, LaHair is no different. In his first two seasons with the Iowa Cubs, LaHair has 54 home runs combined and that number will only climb as the Iowa Cubs enter their final month of the season.
For comparisons, lets take a look at Micah Hoffpauir’s best season with the Iowa Cubs, which was in 2008. That season, Hoffpauir hit .362/.393/.752/1.145 with 25 home runs and 100 RBIs. Hoffpauir had an isolated power average of .390 to go along with a batting average on balls in play of .357. In other categories, Hoffpauir had a K% of 14.7 and a BB% of 5.4 with the Iowa Cubs in 2008.
Now for LaHair’s powerful 2011 season. As stated above, LaHair is currently hitting .333/.409/.655/1.065 to go along with 29 home runs and 80 RBIs this season. LaHair has an isolated power average of .324 to go along with batting average on balls in play of .352. As for the other categories, LaHair has a K% of 20.1 and a BB% of 11.9.
Granted LaHair has played in more games this season with Iowa Cubs than Hoffpauir did in 2008 that,however, does not change the conclusion. The Cubs have already seen this act before, case in point Hoffpauir, and fans should not holding their breath over the arrival of LaHair. Like Hoffpauir, LaHair’s minor league success and major league misery is the reason why the former Mariners’ farm-hand will always be considered a career minor leaguer