- FanGraphs Fantasy Baseball - http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy -

A New Split For Adam LaRoche

If you asked fantasy players to name a player who performed well in a split, the vast majority of them would name Adam LaRoche and his play in the second half of the season. True to form, LaRoche has a .323/.366/.570 line in the second half. Before the All-Star break, LaRoche had a .787 OPS.

But it is another split that is really making things interesting for LaRoche. For the first time in his career, LaRoche is punishing LHP. Coming into this season he had a .251 lifetime AVG versus southpaws. Only in 2007, when he hit .299, did LaRoche have a good AVG versus lefties. While he had decent to good ISOs versus southpaws, he batted .250 or less in five of his six previous seasons.

It is a different story in 2010. Overall he has a .327/.369/.602 line in 122 PA versus lefties. Since the All-Star break he is 18-44 (.409) with 4 2B, 3B, 2 HR and 10 RBIs against LHP. That works out to a .682 SLG and a 1.117 OPS.

Most of the damage came in one game against Jonathon Niese, when he had 2 HR and 6 RBIs. But LaRoche has also fared well against Jonathan Sanchez and Cole Hamels in this stretch and had big games against Scott Olsen and Ross Detwiler, too.

Lefties out of the bullpen are still having typical success versus LaRoche, as he is 4-17 against southpaw relievers since the break, without an extra-base hit or RBI. He is 0-3 against both Joe Thatcher and Oliver Perez.

We know in the aggregate that most splits have no predictive value. The most likely answer to LaRoche’s success this year versus southpaws is that it is merely an outlier in his performance and that he will regress towards his lifetime .784 OPS.

However, given LaRoche’s history of consistently performing well in the second half, fantasy players would be remiss not to track his performance versus lefties the rest of the season. If he adds hitting southpaws to his resume, LaRoche should move up from last year’s 219 ADP.