There aren’t very many things that fans of the Chicago Cubs have had to look forward to this season.
Between Carlos Marmol melting down in every appearance, Geovany Soto quickly playing his way off the team, and Chris Volstad continuing to be a disaster, we’re pretty much limited to Matt Garza starts and Starlin Castro at-bats.
But through the first month of the season, we did get at least one pleasant surprise to come out of this lineup. That surprise came in the form of first baseman Bryan LaHair.
Most saw, and some still do see, LaHair simply as the stopgap first baseman until Anthony Rizzo eventually plows his way to the big leagues. However, LaHair is proving to be much more than that and is showing that he’s a guy that could either stick around, or become big trade bait in the near future.
In a lineup that lost Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena this past winter, LaHair has done his best to supply some of the power for a team that lacks any sort of real power punch in the lineup.
LaHair hit .390 for the month of April, among the best in Major League Baseball. His five home runs are tops on the team and he’s knocked in 14 runs. For a Cubs team that is on pace for less than 70 home runs on the year, LaHair’s contributions are key.
But with that batting average, they obviously go beyond just the power. He has seven doubles on the year and a .470 on-base percentage. It’d be nice if he could get a little bit of help, though.
This Cubs lineup doesn’t have much outside of LaHair and Castro and it shows as they struggle to score runs every night. Though the order hasn’t been as terrible as advertised, the middle of the order, with the exception of LaHair, has had an extremely difficult time driving in any sort of runs.
It will be interesting to see what becomes of LaHair, assuming he keeps up at this pace. Would the Cubs keep Rizzo in Iowa all season? Could they trade LaHair? Could LaHair move to the outfield to make room for Rizzo? All are questions that will be answered in time, but for now it’s nice to see LaHair finally getting his shot in the bigs, and taking advantage of it.