Yeah, I like Anthony Rizzo too. I like him better than Bryan LaHair even if LaHair was moussing pitchers all last year. In the PCL, which doesn’t stand for Plutonium Chloride, he hit 38 homers with a .331 average, mashing like his name was Dee Dee Sharp. Sure, batting in the PCL is like hitting with an aluminum bat in an anti-gravity chamber, but he was the best — the best, Jerry! — winning the PCL MVP. He’s also old as dog balls at 29. He was born before some of the pitchers he was facing were born (technically true, but really not that incredible). Rizzo is the shizzle and when he’s ready, he’ll be up to the majors. That makes LaHair a placeholder, which is kinda like the Mr. Potato Head I keep on my desk to try out different mustache styles. In deep leagues, a guy that will bat in the middle of the order (even if it’s only April and May) could have value in the short term. So what can we expect of Bryan LaHair in 2012 fantasy baseball and what makes him a sleeper?
The power looks like it can play anywhere in a not-just-Quad-A-type way. In 129 games in the PCL, he hit 38 homers. Subtract 25 homers for the light air, add fifteen homers for the wind in Wrigley and subtract eight more because LaHair sounds like he’s related to John Frieda. That means he should be good for 20 homers if he gets a full season of at-bats, which I don’t think he gets. He’ll either overstay his welcome by the All-Star Break and be pushing a broom back in his salon or Rizzo will just push him into a platoon. In deep leagues, that doesn’t matter at Utility. You’re looking at a flyer that could reap dividends. If he has a hot April, you’ve backed into a guy worth a lot more than he was a few weeks ago. If he’s crizzap rolling out the red carpet for Rizzo, then you drop him. I could also see a scenario where you draft Howard then very late back him up with The Moussed One. In 2012, I see LaHair giving you 35/15/55/.270 in 350 ABs and definitely worth the sleeper pick.