While we’ve heard plenty about the very strong preseason guys like Chicago Cubs outfielder Alfonso Soriano and infielder Darwin Barney are having at the plate, we’ve heard quite a bit less this season about what Bryan LaHair is doing.
That’s probably because it’s not much.
In the six games he’s played, LaHair has just three hits in 17 at-bats. None of those hits went for extra bases and he has four strikeouts on the spring so far. Not exactly what the Cubs were hoping for from their new starting first baseman.
But that slow start hasn’t changed their opinion of him or changed his status as the club’s starting first baseman for, at least the start, of 2012. Dale Sveum has already said that his status remains the same.
Obviously, it’s early in the spring and it’s still spring training, so there isn’t too much reason to be concerned with LaHair’s slow start, just like there’s no reason to be overly excited about what Soriano is doing, though the latter’s change in mechanics indicate that he could actually improve a great deal this season.
But the fact that there is a major prospect waiting behind LaHair is sure to ignite some debate, especially if he struggles through the spring and into the beginning of the season.
Anthony Rizzo is waiting in the wings and will likely appear at some point for the Cubs in 2012. He’s 4-for-13 for the spring, including a mammoth home run on Tuesday. Along with Brett Jackson, Cubs fans are impatient for the 22-year-old to make his Cubs debut.
As of right now, the job is still LaHair’s. I don’t see that changing. The Cubs have made it clear that he’s going to get a shot, and he’d have to struggle through April and much of May before Rizzo sees a potential call up.
Even with a slow start, it shouldn’t be anything to be concerned about. LaHair is a guy with big time power at the position and we won’t have a real indication of where he’s at with Major League pitching until the actual season gets going.