Starlin Castro is an All-Star … And So is Bryan LaHair

There was a time two months ago that Bryan LaHair looked like a mortal lock for the NL All-Star team. At the time, he was the second best offensive player in the NL behind only Matt Kemp, and nothing could stop him.

But then, the inevitable adjustments of pitchers, and inevitable BABIP backslide stopped him. LaHair hasn’t been bad, mind you, just not the herculean beast he once was. And he’s really struggled to hit lefties when he’s been given a chance to try.

So it was a bit of a surprise today when it was announced that the Cubs would be getting two All-Star reps, one of whom was Starlin Castro (no surprise), and the other wasn’t Alfonso Soriano. It was indeed LaHair. Both players made it by way of the player vote.

LaHair is hitting .284/.364/.526 after a pretty deep slide in June, but that slugging percentage is still good enough for 11th in the league, and he still looks like one of the better first baseman in the NL behind Joey Votto (even if he isn’t the starting first baseman on his team anymore). LaHair has 13 homers and 28 RBI.

Castro is hitting .298/.319/.432 and will be in his second straight All-Star Game.

The LaHair news doesn’t take anything away from Castro, but it’s certainly a pretty great story: minor league journeyman becomes All-Star? Who doesn’t like that?

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

112 responses to “Starlin Castro is an All-Star … And So is Bryan LaHair”

  1. #1lahairfan

    Yea

  2. TWC

    Clearly, the only thing standing in the way of an MVP award for Bryan LaHair is more starts against lefties.

    1. Drew7

      Thanks for that, Captain Obvious…

  3. blublud

    Not a knock on Lahair, but Soriano should definitely be the 2nd All-Star. Its a feel good story, but Sori is having the better all-Around year.

    1. Turn Two

      Lahair is making it as a 1st baseman in a league fairly void of first basemen, he is not making it as an outfielder. The Cubs are certainly not owed 2 all-stars with their last place record. While I would have no problem with Soriano making the team, its not a matter of picking Soriano or Lahair. Not to mention this couldn’t hurt trade value nor could it hurt the confidence of Bryan Lahair.

    2. hansman1982

      If demo wasn’t on the dl you could make a case for 4 cubbies being on the all-star team

    3. terencemann

      Allen Craig really should be the back-up first baseman but TLR probably felt he needed to go to the next non-Cardinal since Lynn was kind of an off-the-wall choice.

      (Also Johnny Cueto is filing a grievance over not being named to the ASG since TLR said on the record that the only reason he’s not on the team is because he’s slated to start the Sunday before the game which is against the new CBA).

      I’m very happy for LaHair, though. From career minor leaguer to All-Star in less than a season….

  4. Leroy K.

    Congratulations Bryan Lahair!!!!!! I’m proud of you!!!!!!

  5. Spencer

    At first I thought it was weird, but LaHair is 3rd among NL 1B in avg, hr, and obp. I think he got the nod by virtue of his hot start though. La Roche and Goldschmidt have legit claims to being on the team too. Maybe this’ll make Sveum think twice about making him a platoon player.

    1. Drew7

      Hes an All-Star BECAUSE he is platooned…

      1. Shelby Menge

        Who’s Hes?

        1. Drew7

          A gramatical correction coming from you? Wow…

  6. calicubsfan007

    I am pleasantly suprised. Good for LaHair, hope this is the beginning of a long run of all star appearances and not the end. Just needs to tweak his approach against lefties, thats all.

  7. PKJ

    Congrats to Bryan! It was fun to watch him here in Des Moines last season and it’s been fun to watch him this season with the big club. I just hope he can make his own adjustments at the plate and prove to be more than just a useful outfielder. Selfishly, I hope the Cubs keep him around instead of trading him since he’s so cheap and provides some depth at OF and 1B.

  8. @cubsfantroy

    I’m happy he got the nod, but really, Soriano should be in there. He is having a great year after a slow start.

    Hopefully this will get some value for LaHair as we move closer to the trade deadline. I know it probably won’t, but it would be nice if it did.

    1. calicubsfan007

      @cubsfantroy: I doubt the Cubs trade him during the midseason, I think they trade him in the offseason if they decide to trade him. Right now, he’s more valuable to the Cubs than to any other team in the MLB.

      1. @cubsfantroy

        @calicubsfan007 I know, but since his name has been thrown around a bit I figured I would add that in. I, personally, would like to see him stay with the Cubs, but if we can get a good return for him, I’m all for it too. So yeah, I’m kind of on the fence about it. lol

  9. TakingWrigleyToSaoPaulo

    Travis Wood is pretty good…

  10. someday...2015?

    “Why’s Baker in! Baker sucks! Where’s LaHair!”… Crickets…crickets…good call svuem.

    1. Carew

      Overall Baker does suck. He just has somethin like a .400 career average against W. Rod

    2. Jimmy james

      Wow he came through, for like the first time all year, glad you can bring that up

      1. Cubs Dude

        Baker sucks big time, and I really don’t see how a playoff team would value that scrub. But just maybe he could sweeten the pot if he’s brought with a player like Demp or Garza in a deal. We can only hope.. I’m over the Baker experience.

    3. Dougy D

      I’ve been dogging Baker in favor of getting LaHair some AB’s vs. lefties. Baker had a big hit and congrats to him. I still would have liked to see LaHair in there. Obviously the players in the league thought he deserved to be an all star, to bad the manager doesn’t think so.

  11. RWakild

    Baker finally does something good. Still want to see somebody with a possible future start instead of him. Who is saying that Lahair, on his second day in a row facing a lefty, doesn’t do the same or better?

  12. RWakild

    And props to pitchers who can also hit like Travis Wood. Nicely done!!

  13. Cubs Dude

    I was skeptical about Wood at first. But at this point I think he’s definitely passed up the Shark as the biggest nice surprise. I really like what he brings to the table, and he looks like he comes straight from the trailer park. Good for him..

    1. calicubsfan007

      Cubs Dude: Hahaha, wow. Nice addition with “trailer park”. I wonder if his ceiling is higher than just being a 4-5 starter.

    2. Scotti

      If Wood is from the trailer park then he needs a traler park name. I vote “Booger.”

  14. @cubsfantroy

    Man, whatever Wood had to work out in the minors, I hope it works for Volstad. Wood has been nothing short of amazing since he got called up to the big leagues.

  15. nosup4u

    Sooo, does this mean we get to see Him in the Derby?

  16. paul

    Alot of clamoring for the kids to play.The Cubs are show casing Jeff Baker, Soto and Reed Johnson until the trade deadline. Cubs won’t get anything unless scouts see them play? If any more kids come up from the minors it will be after July 31.

  17. Toby

    The Dodgers pulled out of the Carlos Lee trade. Do you think that Dodgers turn their attention to LaHair? I still see Cubs send Dempster and LaHair to LA for Gould, Lee, and two other mid-level prospects.

    1. Ben

      I doubt they would include Lee in a Dempster/LaHair package….I hope I am wrong

      1. Toby

        They might if Cubs absorb all of Dempster’s salary. I’ll amend my trade scenerio by saying Cubs could also send a prospect.

  18. Cubsfan2436

    How the heck did bryan lahair make the allstar game?!?! He is definitely the product of a week year in NL at first base. He really isnt that good, but he isn’t too bad. If he faces a lefty in the allstar game I will be so embarrassed bc the guy can’t hit lefties to save his life. He is terrible against lefties. And please no one tell me he hasn’t been given a chance to bc he in more a half of his at bats vs them. I. Mean I’m happy he made it and it’s a good story and all but seriously it’s a joke that he is an allstar

  19. FromFenwayPahk

    WISTAH, BABY!
    You gotta love the Bryan Lahayah story.
    I sure do.

  20. Curt

    congrats to Castro and lahair but how does lahair make it ahead of soriano, and speaking of soriano why is there no al market for him has anyone looked at dh avgs if the cubs are willing to eat most oc his contract and he’s playing so well why does it seem like he has the plague just askin

  21. The Dude Abides

    LaHair is a nice story but it has just about played out for the Cubs, they will either trade him or phase him out before year end. Rizzo as expected ended his 1B career and he is not a full time MLB outfielder, he can’t hit lefties and the league is getting the book on him as a whole. Hopefully we find someone to take him so we don’t have to do anything but read about his release in a few years and we can say yeah I remember he made an all star team for us…

    1. FromFenwayPahk

      Dude, enjoy the ride. There comes a day when we all have to be pryed loose. But, until then, abide, ride, and roll.
      Without “a nice story” all baseball’s got is math.

  22. Deez

    Looking at the Rosters…
    The NL will get crushed!
    The AL is stacked like Nikki Manaj!

  23. FromFenwayPahk

    Lahair, local kid makes good.

  24. Pouncey

    Josh Hamilton is our all-star. I know, I know, we had to trade him for nothing because he was blocked by Felix Pie.

    1. ColoCubFan

      If memory serves, Josh Hamilton was a rule 5 candidate that Cincinnati wanted, and a team in front of them also desired. A deal was struck for the Cubs to take Hamilton and send him to Cincy for cash since there wasn’t anybody the Cubs wanted real bad. I don’t think the Cub’s front office had any desire for Hamilton for themselves. I could be wrong.

      1. Luke

        This is pretty much correct.  The Cubs took Hamilton as a favor to the Reds.

        1. Pouncey

          You are both correct. The Cubs won the Josh Hamilton sweepstakes because they were incredibly lucky to win the rights to draft him during Rule 5 that year. Hamilton’s rights were owned by the Cubs, and would cost 50k. Instead of doing that, and because Felix Pie was their centerfielder of the future, they sent a prospect who has more talent than anyone in the past decade to Cincinatti for nothing (i think the actual compensation was 50k in cash, again, NOTHING). Players with drug problems are the absolute best possible Rule 5 candidates to draft. It only costs you 50k if it doesn’t work out. Jim Hendry had no interest because of Felix Pie (who is currently scuffling in Triple A), and passed on a player (sent him to Cincy, whatever) who was a no doubt about it first pick in the draft like Ken Griffey Jr. or Alex Rodriguez.

          Weren’t we a little too right-handed the last 5 years? As it turns out, Josh Hamilton would have fixed that. Not sure why this is not part of the Cubs discourse like the Lou Brock trade is.

          1. hansman1982

            Wow this is correct and incorrect all at the same time. The Rees never had dreams of Hamilton becoming a stud. He had family (or family-like) people in their organization and ere more concerned about him becoming a DEAD MLB player than becoming a good MLB player. The cubs had no dreams of drafting a drug addict and turned what was to be a non-pick into cash. Jesus crimeny jones am I going to have to explaIn this once a month for the rest of my life?

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              Probably 2 or 3 times a month.  This charmless bit of historical revisionism does not want to die!

  25. Pouncey

    Maybe they could have dreamed of it since he was the #1 pick in the Amateur draft earlier by a very wide margin? Lets see: 6 foot 5, plus plus runner, plus plus thrower, plus plus power, plus plus hitter. Never could have dreamed?

    Is your argument that the Cubs were simply too incompetent to deliver the medical care he required and that Cincy wasn’t?

    WRONG! The error was an incredibly poor scouting decision to go with Pie instead of Hamilton. And apparently some great marketing to cover up the monumental error that has the teams at opposite ends of the standings.

    1. Drew7

      “he was the #1 pick in the Amateur draft earlier by a very wide margin?”

      Earlier? Try 7 1/2 years and a truckload of Coke earlier…

       

  26. Norm

    OMFG the Hamilton crap again.

    1. hansman1982

      Puncey’s website explains it all…and I will leave it at that.

      1. calicubsfan007

        Hansman: Wow, I didn’t know that this is such a hot button.

  27. Pouncey

    Ha ha – yeah, much better to discuss the great Soto/Clevenger debate. WE COULD HAVE AVOIDED THE SORIANO CONTRACT JUST BY TAKING HAMILTON FOR NOTHING. Name one other time in Cubs history when they had control of the rights to the best player in the game.

    1. hansman1982

      do you have any idea what you are talking about outside of the fact that the Cubs drafted Hamilton with their Rule 5 Pick and traded him to the Reds for cash?

      1. Toby

        Exactly and given the fact that the Cubs had no intention of keeping Hamilton.

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          And, to emphasize the point that people like Pouncey do not seem to grasp, the Cubs (and probably 27 other teams) had no intention of drafting Hamilton.

  28. wvcubsfan

    What in the world would Cubs fans have to talk about if we couldn’t use revisionist history as our guide?

  29. bob

    Combine the day games and Chicago night-life with Hamilton’s addictions and he would have flamed out with the Cubs just as Dennis Eckersley did. The Cubs knew this and did both Hamilton and the Reds a favor so he could get himself together in a lower market/lower profile situation. The “mistake” the Cubs made was in actually recognizing the truth and not selfishly ruining the young man by forcing it on him in the hopes of a miracle. Remember also, he was not an instant success with the Reds, and he has had a couple of relapses since then which would only have been magnified in Chicago.

    1. Jim L

      Bob, stop making sense!

      1. bob

        Sorry…it’s a bad habit that annoys my family too!

    2. Jp

      Not that I’m on either side in this argument but he actually was an instant success with cincy, he hit .292 19HRs in only 90 games. I will say they probably cashed in on his success early probably in fear it was not a question of if but when he would relapse again.

  30. Pouncey

    Please somebody explain to me why having the rights to the #1 pick in the Rule 5 draft and then not exercising it to select Josh Hamilton is revisionist history. The whole point of the Rule 5 draft is you can take flyers on players with huge upsides very cheaply. I guess if the medical care was just not available in Chicago, but was in Cincy, the Cubs brass was just trying to save the kid’s life and sacrificing the organization is completely understandable in that scenario.

    But the argument that nobody could have projected Josh Hamilton to be successful in baseball, on the day of the Rule 5 draft was held, is completely insane.

    He may have the best baseball tools in the history of baseball.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      I guess if the medical care was just not available in Chicago, but was in Cincy, the Cubs brass was just trying to save the kid’s life and sacrificing the organization is completely understandable in that scenario.

      Johnny Narron (his manager’s brother) was a big part of his support group. Johnny was/is the Reds’ video coordinator. He also coached him in fall ball with Hamilton was 15. They even gave his meal money to Johnny. http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=3622003

      1. DocPeterWimsey

        The Cubs were not even doing that.  They agreed to send their draft pick to the Reds in advance.  (I forget what the Cubs got back in return.)  The Reds did not supply the Cubs with the name of the player to take until right before the draft.  I remember reading that the Cubs thought that this was a very interesting decision by the Reds: like most other teams, they almost certainly would not have taken this chance.

        1. Jp

          The answer doc I believe was cash. I think for the Cubbies to make that selection they compensated us with around $500k. Here is another question, if he was such a train wreck and a burn out then why the secrecy? If nobody else was going to take a chance on him why not just wait their turn and save the ca$h? At the time the reds had a very crowded OF stable. They had Griffey, Kearns, and I think willy Mo Pena? I could be wrong on that last one but my guess is while Hamilton was recovering and training in Cary, NC a reds scout saw him blasting batting practice balls 500 ft and thought he was worth the risk with Griffey in the twilight of his career? Hell I don’t know just a theory..

          1. nkniacc13

            because they had that depth they could afford to keep him on the roster and spot play him. There were a bunch of teams in between the Cubs and Reds picks that someone may have taken a flier on him because of the talent

            1. Drew7

              Thats the point that is easily forgetten: the cubs would have had to keep him on the 25-man. If this were a case of throwing a guy in the minors to see if he could work it out, im sure he would have been given a small amount of consideration.