Adam LaRoche, Perennial Second Half Monster

After last season, people were understandably expecting a lot out of Adam LaRoche. He set a career high in home runs and tied his career high in RBI, and with the Nationals expected to have one of the better offenses in baseball he was supposed to be in a good situation in terms of runs and RBI as well.

The season did not start off well for LaRoche, but he has picked it up of late and now has a wRC+ of 114 which is actually higher than his career mark of 112. He has never been that great, hence him netting just over 10 WAR for his career, but he has provided a lot of value to fantasy owners in the second half in the past. This is why I am looking to acquire LaRoche in any league I do not already own him. I have been using him in a utility spot for most of the year in two leagues, but I am confident I can get him for relatively cheap in other leagues where owners are stocked up on first basemen.

For his career, LaRoche averages 27.6 plate appearances per home run in the first half. In the second half, LaRoche averages 19.9 plate appearances per homer, a pretty substantial difference. Along with the added homers, LaRoche is a .293/.353/.533 hitter after the All-Star break. Year after year LaRoche provides tons of value to owners who are willing to roster him in the second half and year after year owners are still willing to deal him at this point of the season.

Some of this may be somewhat bland analysis, but for whatever reason some players hit better in the second half of the season. LaRoche has been one of the more notorious second half players over the course of the past decade and if you have some spare parts you can deal for him you should certainly put forth an inquiry.

Along with him consistently hitting better in the second half, the lineup in Washington is getting healthy and he can certainly benefit from some added RBI and run opportunities. With Bryce Harper hitting third he will surely have his fare share of chances to drive him in which should allow his RBI total to spike if he hits like he often does in the summer months.

LaRoche may not be a savior to a fantasy lineup but he certainly can be a cheap source of power. He has the track record of hitting for a high average and a ton of power after the all-star break so if you need the first base, CI, or utility help he is someone you should absolutely be targeting. I know I will be.

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Ben has been at RotoGraphs since 2012 and focuses most of his fantasy baseball attention toward dynasty and keeper leagues.

8 Responses to “Adam LaRoche, Perennial Second Half Monster”

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  1. Travis says:

    Would you drop Adam Lind for LaRoche?

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    • user says:

      this is exactly my dilemma. interested to hear thoughts on it

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      • TeddyIsland says:

        I think this one’s a no brainer. Laroche is your man. He’s been in and out of the util spot on my roster earlier in the season but he’s finally solidified a spot there. Just check out his numbers and then see how badly he started

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  2. Leory says:

    Who do you like better ROS in a standard 5×5: LaRoche or Butler?

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  3. Batmanuel says:

    Moreland, LaRoche, Lind: Pick two ROS

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    • Lind/LaRoche > Moreland ROS for me.

      Lind/LaRoche is as perfect as a toss-up as I can think of. I guess I would go Lind due to hope that the changes in his approach are permanent and that he’s younger/theoretically has more upside, but I don’t think there’s a wrong answer between the two.

      I’d hold on to Butler over LaRoche – he’s the one with the highest BA upside and I don’t see a reason for his power to stay this far down.

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  4. ulysses says:

    laroche or hosmer?

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  5. bigbart says:

    “While compiling the research for this article, one of my favorite discoveries of all time is that the idea that Adam LaRoche is a slow starter is a myth on the order of The Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Some years, he’s a slow starter and some years he isn’t. If someone in your mixed league isn’t drafting LaRoche late because he’s a slow starter, pounce. There is a better than 50/50 chance that this gambit will pay off.”



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