Streaking/Slumping: LaHair thriving

April, 23, 2012
4/23/12
12:01
PM CT
Levine By Bruce Levine
ESPNChicago.com
Archive
Bryan LaHair and Alfonso SorianoUS Presswire, Getty ImagesBryan LaHair has produced early in his chance to play everyday at first base while Alfonso Soriano has gotten off to another slow start.

STREAKING


Streaking
Barney
1. Darwin Barney, 2B: Barney batted .381 with 5 RBIs over a seven-day span. A tireless worker, Barney added 10 pounds of muscle in the offseason to try to avoid a late season fade that put a damper on the end of his rookie season when he batted .238 after the All-Star Game after hitting .306 before the break. Barney’s defense around the bag also has improved.

Streaking
Bryan LaHair
2. Bryan LaHair, 1B: Battling a sore lower back late in spring training, LaHair has taken advantage of his opportunity to play every day in the major leagues by leading the Cubs in home runs (2) and RBIs (9) while batting .361 and posting a .455 on-base percentage through the first 15 games of the season. He also has reached base in 12 straight games and is hitting .433 against right-handed pitching. A move to the outfield will need to take place when the equally hot-hitting Anthony Rizzo is recalled from Triple-A Iowa at some point this season.

SLUMPING


Slumping
Soto
1. Geovany Soto, C: Soto makes the list for the second straight week coming off a particularly brutal game on Sunday, going hitless in four at-bats with two strikeouts and back-to-back throwing errors in the Cincinnati Reds' two-run sixth inning. Soto was on top of his game in spring training, throwing and hitting like his Rookie of the Year campaign in 2008. Catching time may be cut with hot-hitting rookie Steve Clevenger (batting .556 on a 10-of-18 start) beginning to cut into Soto’s playing time.

Slumping
Alfonso Soriano
2. Alfonso Soriano, LF: Another Cubs starter who was coming off a strong spring training, the 36-year-old left fielder has had a cold start to the season. The freeze out includes zero home runs and extra base hits in 14 games, and he has one hit in his last 16 at-bats. Soriano is on pace to strike out 162 times, and his .448 OPS is among the worst in baseball.

Bruce Levine | email

Chicago baseball beat reporter
Bruce Levine has covered sports in Chicago for over 28 years and hosts "Talkin' Baseball," heard Saturday mornings on ESPN 1000.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Jason Hammel
WINS ERA SO IP
8 2.98 104 108
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Rizzo .283
HRA. Rizzo 25
RBIA. Rizzo 58
RA. Rizzo 71
OPSA. Rizzo .912
ERAJ. Samardzija 2.83
SOJ. Hammel 104