It was supposed to be a pretty miserable season for the Chicago Cubs, and it has been a pretty miserable season for the Chicago Cubs. Through 72 games, they've posted the worst record in baseball, with one of few bright spots being the emergence of first baseman Bryan LaHair. The once-quad-A slugger has turned into a major-league slugger, with a .543 slugging percentage through 226 trips to the plate.
But now Bryan LaHair is going to have to be moved. Because there's another young slugger who's about to take over at first base:
It's officiaL: Iowa Cubs announcing #AnthonyRizzo to Chicago— Randy Peterson (@RandyPete) June 25, 2012
LaHair has played four games in the outfield this season, and he played 11 games in the outfield last season. He's off to an outfield corner to make room for Anthony Rizzo, who was rated the No. 47 prospect in baseball by Baseball America before this year.
And that was before Rizzo tore up triple-A, again. Last year in triple-A, Rizzo posted a 1.056 OPS. This year in triple-A, he's posted a 1.110 OPS, with a .702 slugging percentage. Still just 22, Rizzo will get a chance to establish himself as the Cubs' first baseman of the present, near future, and more distant future.
Of course, it won't be automatic. Rizzo batted 153 times as a Padre last season and was a disaster. The hope is that whatever was eating him then won't eat him again this time around. The Cubs are confident, and based on Rizzo's numbers, they should be. Hitting prospects don't get a lot more exciting than Anthony Rizzo, so while every prospect has a certain chance of failure, Rizzo's chance is about as low as they come.