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11/6/1979 (37 y, 3 m, 13 d)
2000 June Amateur Draft - Round: 29, Pick: 30, Overall: 880, Team: Atlanta Braves
$25M / 2 Years (2015 - 2016)
The White Sox have filed LaRoche's retirement paperwork, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune reports. (3/18/2016)
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(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
One of the most famous second-half performers around, LaRoche did nothing to tarnish his reputation in that regard last year. Before the All-Star break he hit .250/.336/.447 and, in the second half of the season, LaRoche posted a .311/.377/.538 line. While he started the season with the Pirates, and had a brief stay with the Red Sox, LaRoche did most of his second-half hitting with the Braves. His post-All-Star-break hitting with Atlanta was fueled by a .404 BABIP. LaRoche finished with a .404 wOBA, which was easily the top mark amongst Braves hitters. In just 57 games with Atlanta, LaRoche recorded a 2.0 WAR. Early in the season, pitchers were able to work him with offspeed stuff, as he was below-average against sliders, curves, and change-ups. But with Atlanta, he was average or better against each of those pitches, which allowed him to post a 12.8 runs-above-average mark against fastballs.
The Year Ahead:
A free agent following the 2009 season, LaRoche hoped to sign a multi-year deal but instead inked a one-year contract with the Diamondbacks. With a multi-year park factor of 109, Chase Field is one of the best hitter’s parks in the National League and LaRoche has a chance to post his best numbers ever, although he has struggled (.661 OPS in 43 PA) in his brief time there as a visiting player. Last year’s .332 BABIP was a career high for him, but it was only 15 points above his lifetime average in the category, an indication of how consistent he has been throughout his career. Over the past three seasons, LaRoche has averaged .273-24-85. This season he has an opportunity to best all those numbers and challenge for his career-best marks of .285-32-90, all established in 2006. (Brian Joura)
The average Major League first baseman hit 25 homers with 91 RBI and a .263 AVG in 2010. Adam LaRoche hit 25 homers with 100 RBI and a .261 AVG in 2010. That about sums up his fantasy value: he's an average play with little upside for more. LaRoche has hit 25 homers right on the nose for three straight years, hovering between 80 and 100 RBI with a .260 to .280 AVG. Despite the homers, he's averaged just 73 runs scored in those last three seasons because his on-base percentage has never been great (.339 combined). We know what LaRoche is by now, and that's a solid-but-unspectacular option at a loaded fantasy position. There's value in predictability, and that's what he gives you. (Mike Axisa)
The Quick Opinion:
LaRoche's value comes in predictability, because he's an average play at a loaded fantasy position. Take the guaranteed 20+ homers and 80+ RBI, but don't expect a ton more.
Major shoulder surgery sabotaged LaRoche's maiden season with the Nationals, forcing him to the disabled list after just 177 brutally ineffective plate appearances (.258 wOBA). Prior to the injury, he was a safe bet for .270/20/80 production, which was hardly elite for first base. Now 32 years old and coming off surgery, LaRoche is also faced with the daunting task of usurping Mike Morse following his full season breakout in 2011. Given the injury, his underwhelming performance prior to the injury, and his competition at first with Washington, LaRoche is an obvious candidate to take off your draft board heading into the season. At best, he's waiver wire fodder in case of injury should the Nats decide to run with the defensively challenged Morse in the outfield to accommodate their $8M a year first baseman. (Mike Axisa)
The Quick Opinion:
Shoulder problems ruined LaRoche's 2011 season, and now he's stuck having to beat out Mike Morse for the first base job next season. With mediocre production relative to position before the injury, it's best to avoid LaRoche on draft day.
Adam LaRoche had a career-year at age 32. There wasn't a big difference in his approach, he just hit for more power. He seemed to be locked in at the plate, destroying fastballs and finally hitting sliders at an acceptable rate. The bigger question is whether LaRoche can sustain his performance, which doesn't seem likely given his age and previous performance. He's a good bet to hit at least 25 home runs, but counting on 30+ is probably not a great idea. Even back home in Washington, LaRoche has too much history suggesting he doesn't really own that type of oomph. (
The Quick Opinion:
LaRoche had a career-year at age 32, and is probably not a candidate to repeat on that performance next season. He could still be a solid option at first, but probably not a standout player at a deep position.
After capturing owners hearts and becoming a fantasy darling in 2012, LaRoche saw himself drop out of the top-30 fantasy first basemen in ESPN leagues last season. His weighted on-base average dropped from .361 to .321, while his isolated slugging and home run numbers similarly similarly declined. The dagger for fantasy owners was the .237 batting average (his 12.2% walk rate mitigated the damage in on-base percentage leagues). The culprit? His platoon woes returned with a vengeance. LaRoche owns a career .316 wOBA against left-handed pitchers. In his banner 2012 season, he bucked the trend and compiled a .349 wOBA. Even with the walk and strikeout rates hinting the improvement wasn't sustainable, it provided significant hope. Unfortunately, LaRoche crashed back to earth. Hard. He posted a .253 wOBA with only three homers against southpaws in 2013. That proved insurmountable and his overall numbers tanked. He still clobbered 17 homers versus righties and hit .250/.357/.434 on the season. The platoon splits may not be that severe again in 2014, but they are real. At most, he profiles as a platoon option at first base for those owners who don't mind playing daily matchups, as he remains valuable at the plate against righties. (JP Breen)
The Quick Opinion:
After a tremendous 2012 campaign that saw him launch 33 homers, LaRoche reverted to being barely relevant in fantasy leagues last season. Creative owners may still find sneaky value by treating him as a platoon option, starting him solely against righties.
After a down year in 2013, LaRoche returned to form in 2014, crushing 26 homers and 92 RBIs en route to finishing 11th among first basemen, according to Zach Sanders’
. His season was another entry in a career largely underappreciated for its consistency, only this time, the 35-year-old produced the best on-base percentage and walk rate of his career, while posting his lowest strikeout percentage since 2005. As David Wiers
, LaRoche’s strike zone judgment has improved as he’s gotten older, but he still possesses solid power, evidenced by a healthy home run rate on fly balls and average batted ball distance. Now playing in U.S. Cellular Field, a place that inflates offense more than Nationals Park, LaRoche likely will continue to offer power to owners, though he’s slated to be the team’s designated hitter while Jose Abreu mans first base. That could eat up some plate appearances as well as subject him to the dreaded
designated hitter penalty
, and there’s no question that as he gets older, he’ll be less of a guarantee to provide elite-level production in home runs and RBIs. But even a slight drop in his overall numbers — Steamer forecasts 25 dingers and 76 RBIs —would still make him useful in fantasy. (
Karl de Vries
The Quick Opinion:
LaRoche’s advancing age makes him a tough bet to finish among the top 12 first basemen again, but he’s still worth a late mid-round pick as a source of power.
After years as a very reliable slugger, 2015 marked one of the worst campaigns of Adam LaRoche's career. At age 35, his first season with the White Sox resulted in a modest .207/.293/.340 line in 484 trips to the plate, numbers dragged down by a .269 batting average on balls in play and a dreadful .383 OPS against southpaws. Additionally, after averaging more than 22 homers over each of his first 11 seasons, his 12 long balls bested only his rough '11 campaign (three homers in 43 injury-plagued games). His strikeout rate of 27.5% was the second highest he'd ever posted, even if his 10.1% walk rate was in line with his career mark. LaRoche did make 48 appearances at first base last year, but it is hard to be optimistic about him considering the strength of competition at that position. His biggest contribution is his ability to clear the fences, but his 12 homers ranked 26th out of the 27 first basemen with more than 450 plate appearances (topping only Joe Mauer's 10, which is telling). Finally, the supposedly new-and-improved White Sox lineup scored just 622 runs in '15, good for last in the AL and 28th in all of baseball. With that kind of uninspiring support, it is hard to envision a scenario where LaRoche is a helpful contributor in anything but AL-only formats -- especially at age 36. (Dylan Higgins)
The Quick Opinion:
LaRoche may be hitting his inevitable decline after over a decade of solid power production in the major leagues. The veteran certainly has a chance of bouncing back and providing 20+ homers once again, but it is more likely that he has fallen behind and will only be worth a late-round pick in deep leagues as a corner infielder.
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Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2017 3:32 AM ET
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