Fan Views – Dissecting LaHair’s Struggles

Here at Born on Third we like to hear what you the fan thinks, because after all we are all fans, and we want to know what’s going on in your head regarding the Cubs.  Have a comment, want to vent about the Cubs?  Then send us an email at bornon3rdcubs@yahoo.com and we will feature it on the blog.  This entry comes from Bob Cris, he has thoughts on Bryan LaHair, give him a follow on twitter for more Cubs chatter, and please do not hesitate to send us your thoughts!

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When I say the name Bryan LaHair, most people think “undeserving All-Star, AAAA, and horrible after good first month”. Okay. As bad as he was in July, guess what? Second on the team in Homeruns, 3rd in RBI’s, would be top 5 in BA if he qualified. He’s also second in OBP, second in slugging, and FIRST in OPS. All that, with an atrocious month under his belt. But lets go back to April. There was a point where he wasn’t even the everyday 1st basemen. But he earned it. He put together a hot streak far more impressive than that of Anthony Rizzo’s first month in the majors. But you don’t remember that, do you? Well, through May 15, LaHair had an insane .352/10/21 line, compared to Rizzo’s current .301/9/23 line. Then of course, came a mini slump. Dale’s reaction to the slump? Automatically reduce his best hitter at the time into a platoon role, for a guy in Jeff Baker who was struggling as well. Pretty dramatic reaction for a small slump, huh? Well, here’s some advanced statistics for you. The Cubs coming into the season had two notable power hitters: LaHair and Soriano. One would protect the other, and as the numbers show the other would take a hit. When LaHair hit 4th in front of Soriano, he saw a decent amount of fastballs, resulting in his hot start. Then naturally, he went into a slump, as ALL hitters do. Ironically, around the same time, Soriano started to heat up. Before you knew it, they essentially swapped positions in the batting order. When Soriano hit 5th, only Josh Hamilton saw more breaking balls then he, in the entire majors. When he hit 4th, in front of LaHair, the amount of FB Soriano saw increased notably, along with his production. In turn, the amount of breaking balls LaHair saw batting 5th increased dramatically, especially with the .190 hitting Soto or rookie Steve Clevenger in the on deck circle. Essentially, about 47% of the pitches LaHair has seen this year are FB’s, a number skewed thanks to his first full month in the ML, April. By FB percentage comparison, Rizzo is at 51 %, DeJesus at 59%, Barney at 61%, and Castro at 53%. LaHair struggles are on him. No denying that. But the numbers say Dale didn’t exactly help him by completely taking him out of his rhythm. Given a chance to hit in front of a good hitter, and a chance to start everyday, to expect a .285/.350/.480 Line from LaHair with 25 bombs is not out of the question. In fact, it’s a reasonable projection (BA slightly optimistic), and with him under team control through 2017, lets not give up on him, Dale.

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Thanks again to Bob for sharing his thoughts.  Like the in-depth research into LaHair’s struggles and why he might not be a lost cause.  Once again, if you have thoughts send them to us to be featured on the blog!

Thanks for reading,
- George

 

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