A lahar is a basically an avalanche of mud and debris that is shot down a mountain during a volcanic eruption. When entire glaciers are melted in a matter of a few minutes and then race down a mountain, bad things happen. They're immensely destructive and the Seattle-Tacoma region is especially at risk since Mount Rainier has a history of producing exceedingly large lahars. I bring this up because the first time I glanced and saw the name LaHair, I saw "Lahar". I'm probably the one person who has watched enough geology programs on PBS and the Discovery Channel family of networks to have that misread stick in my mind. That being the case, I find it funny that this big lefty first baseman spent half of his 2006 season crushing baseballs in Tacoma.
The Mariners deservedly named LaHair their Minor League Player of the Year. As much as the Texas League and PCL are regarded as hitters havens, San Antonio and Tacoma are both exceedingly good pitchers parks. From the numbers themselves, he looks like a pretty decent prospect. He's not especially young, this was his age 23 season. But he's alarmingly old. One thing that has me a bit concerned is that he had an extreme platoon split this season, hitting a mere .209/.321/.286 against LHP this season cumulatively. There are worse things to be than a platoon 1B/DH, but it isn't what you dream of when you go to sleep at night.
PECOTA doesn't hate him, but doesn't project him as much more than an entry level first baseman for the next half decade. He's not a bad bet to become a regular, but he's not a good bet to become an above average one. Since the Mariners are going to be employing Jose Vidro as their everyday first baseman and the might be willing to listen if somebody else wants to take Richie Sexson's contract off their hands, LaHair is in an organization where he might get a chance to break in sooner rather than later. If I'm a Mariners prospect, I'm wondering why they had to go out of their way to get Vidro when you could have called up the Royals, who seem to have some weird grudge against Justin Huber. A Huber/LaHair platoon would likely be a better situation and it sure as hell would be cheaper. But I digress. LaHair is a middle of the road prospect.. For upside, look for a kind of Lee Stevens kind of journeyman. For a downside, look at AAAA nomads like Graham Koonce.