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9/13/1983 (33 y, 6 m, 15 d)
2003 June Amateur Draft - Round: 39, Pick: 24, Overall: 1171, Team: Los Angeles Dodgers
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LaRoche returned to action for Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday after missing 25 games on the disabled list with a lower-back strain, The Buffalo News reports. (5/13/2014)
The 2011 Brad Emaus All-Stars
Paul Swydan (FanGraphs)
Deep League Position Eligibility Watch
Michael Barr (RotoGraphs)
LaRoche Reaches End of the Line With Pirates
David Golebiewski (FanGraphs)
Pittsburgh's Prospect Rehab
David Golebiewski (FanGraphs)
Infield Flies Killing Andy LaRoche
Jack Moore (FanGraphs)
(Click Year to Expand /
Year in Review:
The big catch in 2008’s Jason Bay blockbuster, LaRoche compiled a .324 wOBA in his first year as a full-time starter. The third baseman showed little pop in the first half of the season, posting a 124 ISO, but he did improve that figure to .157 after the Midsummer Classic. LaRoche still has work to do at the plate, however. He had a ground-ball rate nearing 49%. And he also got jammed a lot, with a 14% infield fly-ball rate, ranking in the top 15 among batters with 500+ PAs. Grounders and pop-ups are death to power numbers. LaRoche creamed fastballs, but he scuffled badly against the soft stuff. He had negative run values against sliders, curveballs, and changeups. Perhaps LaRoche was a little too passive: he swung at fewer than 60% of pitches within the strike zone, compared to the 66% MLB average.
The Year Ahead:
At 26 years old, LaRoche is no longer a kid. He was a walks-and-doubles machine in the minors for L.A., but his bat has yet to make an impact in the majors. Right now, he can handle heaters, but he seems caught off-guard when the pitcher throws him something that bends or fades. There's still time to improve, and LaRoche's potent September (.911 OPS) offers some hope that he has more lightning in his lumber. LaRoche became a deft fielder at the hot corner in 2009, but the Pirates are giving some consideration to moving him to second base in anticipation of top third base prospect Pedro Alvarez being big-league ready soon. The shift certainly wouldn't hurt LaRoche's fantasy value, as it would give him multi-position eligibility in 2010. Owners waiting for a big breakout at the dish might be disappointed, though: offensively, LaRoche looks more adequate than All-Star caliber. (David Golebiewski)
Sometimes an excellent minor-league or late-season stat line can influence the decision-making of fantasy owners for two or three years after the fact. Consider, for example, Jeremy Reed's slash-line of .397/.470/.466 in 66 PA at the end of 2004, or the case of Shane Spencer, who batted .373 and hit 10 homers in just 73 PAs at the end of the Yankees' 1998 season. Of course, neither player ever developed into even an average Major Leaguer, but that probably didn't stop fantasy owners from developing positive connotations with either. LaRoche presents a similar situation. He arrived in Pittsburgh in 2008 as part of the high-profile Jason Bay trade, had been on Baseball America's top-100 prospect list for four years running, and had slashed .310/.412/.544 in 707 Triple-A PAs. That's a lot of positives; however, the realities have been decidedly underwhelming. LaRoche slashed just .226/.296/.341 in 1044 PAs as a Pirates, and though one might suppose his BABIP (.252) over that time would likely regress up to the mean, even that wouldn't make him an overnight sensation. A free agent as of press time, he's a candidate for a minor-league contract or bench role in 2011. (Carson Cistulli)
The Quick Opinion:
Former prospect entering his age-27 season… as a minor leaguer, probably.
This former top prospect never translated his strong performances to the majors and will now battle for a roster spot on the Indians. Plagued by a low batting average on balls in play, limited power and too many ground balls, there is little hope at this point for a sudden breakout at age 28. (Mike Podhorzer)
Remember when Andy LaRoche was the third base prospect the Dodgers just wouldn't give a fair shake? Don't worry, neither does anyone else. Seriously, LaRoche was on the Baseball America Top 100 list every year from 2005 to 2008, including being number 19 in both 2006 and 2007. It is not like things were always hopeless. Probably forgotten now, but LaRoche actually was actually decent for the Pirates in 2009, hitting .258/.330/.401 over 590 plate appearances -- acceptable from a third baseman. That was about it for LaRoche, and for whatever other reason, he has been awful in the brief chances he has had on various teams. LaRoche has a minor league deal with the Blue Jays, but with Brett Lawrie a fixture at third and other people on the major-league depth chart, LaRoche might be lucky to get a single plate appearance in the majors in 2014. I guess Joe Torre was right. (Matt Klaassen)
The Quick Opinion:
Unless someone in your league might mistake him for Adam and trade for him, do not draft blocked prospect blast from the past Andy.
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Updated: Tuesday, March 28, 2017 3:35 AM ET
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