Bryan LaHair

From BR Bullpen

Bryan Allan LaHair

  • Bats Left, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 5", Weight 215 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Bryan LaHair made his Major League debut with the Seattle Mariners in their first game following the 2008 All-Star Game, taking the place of the released Richie Sexson on the M's roster.

LaHair was picked by the Mariners in the 39th round of the 2002 amateur draft (the 1,180th pick) after hitting .375 with 62 RBI his second year at junior college. He was signed by scout Mark Leavitt and debuted with the Everett AquaSox a year later and hit .244/.286/.343. In 2004, LaHair hit .440/.464/.800 in 7 games with Everett and moved up to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, where he batted .279/.323/.427.

Bryan emerged as a prospect in 2005 with a .310/.373/.503 batting line for the Inland Empire 66ers with 81 runs, 113 RBI, 22 home runs and 125 strikeouts. He was 3 RBI behind California League leader Chris Lubanski. He led league first basemen in fielding percentage (.996) and was the league All-Star 1B. The team MVP, he led Mariners farmhands in RBI and tied for second in homers, trailing teammate Wladimir Balentien by 3. He batted .361/.410/.694 with 3 homers, 9 runs and 8 RBI in 10 games for the USA national team in the 2005 Baseball World Cup as the regular first baseman (Josh Phelps, the DH, played first, when LaHair DH'ed).

LaHair started 2006 with the San Antonio Missions and was hitting .293/.371/.428 after 60 games. He was slated for a stint in the Texas League All-Star Game but was called up to AAA with the Tacoma Rainiers. He batted .327/.393/.525 with 10 HR and 44 RBI in 54 contests. Overall, his batting line in the minors that year was .309/.381/.474 with 16 HR and 74 RBI. He was fourth among Mariners farmhands in average, homers and RBI and was named their minor league MVP. In the 2006 qualifying games for the 2008 Olympics, LaHair returned to the national team and hit .222/.317/.500 with 10 runs in 8 games to help the USA get a spot in the Olympics. In 19 games for the Caneros de los Mochis, he batted .234/.359/.359.

Bryan hit .261/.303/.372 with only 3 HR but 15 doubles in his first 54 games of 2007 with the Tacoma Rainiers despite a .341 mark in his prior 10 games. He only homered once in his first 53 games before going deep twice on June 3 against the Iowa Cubs as he was coming out of his early season funk. He bounced back somewhat by year's end to finish with a .275/.332/.431 batting line with 46 doubles, 12 homers and 81 RBI with 126 strikeouts. He was second to Delwyn Young in the Pacific Coast League in doubles.

LaHair opened 2008 with Tacoma and was batting .263/.357/.467 with 26 doubles in 85 games. He was then called up to the majors to replace Richie Sexson, who had been released. Bryan debuted as a pinch-hitter for Jose Lopez, facing Juan Rincon, and hit into a double play in his first MLB at-bat. He hit .250/.315/.346 in 45 games for the 2008 Mariners and fielded .993 at first base. He would play one more game for Tacoma in '08 after his MLB call-up.

He spent 2009 with Tacoma, hitting 26 home runs. He batted .289/.354/.530 and drove home 85 runs but did not make it back to the majors. On January 9, 2010 he signed a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs. [1] He spent the entire season with the AAA Iowa Cubs, where he hit a solid .308/.385/.557 in 125 games. He then had a monster year for Iowa in 2011, hitting 38 doubles and 38 homers, scoring 91 runs and driving in 109 in 129 games while batting .331/.405/.664 on his way to earning the Pacific Coast League's Most Valuable Player Award. This time, the Cubs, heading nowhere, had no choice but to give him a look in September, and he did well, hitting .288 with 5 doubles and 2 homers in 20 games. With the team not re-signing incumbent 1B Carlos Pena over the off-season and bowing out of the competition to sign free agent Prince Fielder, LaHair found himself with the inside track for the starting job in 2012, a fact confirmed by new General Manager Jed Hoyer. However, the Cubs then traded for top prospect Anthony Rizzo from the San Diego Padres, giving up young pitcher Andrew Cashner in return, and Hoyer made it clear that Rizzo was seen as the first baseman of the future, even if LaHair were to be the starter initially.

LaHair had a good first half while Rizzo was getting more seasoning in the minor leagues early in the 2012 season. He was one of few Cubs players to hit well in the early going, and was even named to the All-Star team after hitting .286 with 14 homers and 30 RBI in 74 games in the first half. However, Rizzo made his debut in Chicago on June 26th, and LaHair soon became a man without a position. In the second half, he only had 109 at-bats, during which he hit .202 with a pair of homers. With Rizzo showing that the hype about his bat was not exaggerated, Bryan no longer figured in the Cubs' plans, and on November 20th, he was designated for assignment to clear a spot for a prospect on Chicago's 40-man roster. He never played in the majors again.

LaHair became a hitting coach with the Billings Mustangs in 2018. He started 2019 as the Mustangs bench coach, but was promoted to manager on 6/13/2019 to replace Ray Martinez. He managed the ACL Reds in 2021.

Sources: 2007 Mariners Media Guide, Minor League Baseball website, Defunct IBAF website, Mexican Pacific League stats, 2004-2007 Baseball Almanacs

Notable Achievements[edit]

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs
2019 Billings Mustangs Pioneer League 39-37 4th Cincinnati Reds Lost in 1st round
2021 ACL Reds Arizona Complex League 33-26 6th Cincinnati Reds
2022 Dayton Dragons Midwest League Cincinnati Reds

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jordan Bastian: "LaHair's path from non-prospect to Cubs All-Star",, December 26, 2019. [2]

Related Sites[edit]