Friday, October 28, 2011

A Few Good Men: 14 - LaRoche

Well it’s the end of week 2 for our groundbreaking 44 part series detailing the minutiae of every player to don a Nats jersey in the calendar year 2011, so take a break from reading about the most amazing World Series game since Joe Carter and the Jays in 1993 (with David Freese playing the part of Joe) and enjoy…

Adam LaRoche – 31 Years Old – 8 Years MLB service

How he became a Nat – Signed as a Free Agent last offseason for 2 Years and 15 million dollars. There is a team option for a third year at 10 million.

The Raw Numbers

Games – 43

AVG - .172

Fielding % - 1.000

RBI – 15

The Key Stat – OPS - .546. The Nationals went out and signed Adam LaRoche this past off season looking for a run producing first baseman. About all Adam did was play first base. His OBP was a paltry .288, but the real eyesore is the .258 slugging percentage. Just 7 extra base hits in 151 Abs. Simply put, he was a nightmare at the plate, completely ineffective in every situation, failing to drive in runners, be it with timely hitting or an extra base hit.

Best Game – Very early in the year, April 7 against the Fish. Otherwise a quiet game for Adam, he hit a 2 run bomb in the top of the 11th that proved to be the deciding blow. He did very little to impact games after this and quickly became an albatross around the neck of an anemic Nats offense early in the year.

Worst Game – So many to choose from. I’m going with May 14th again. Losing 1-0 to the Marlins (who finished in last) while the run producing first baseman you signed in the offseason goes 0-4 with a K. If you want to go with WPA (wins probability added) it was April 30 against the Giants (WPA - -0.401, basically being 40 percent of the reason the Nats lost), another 1 run loss in which he went 0-4 with 1 K and 1 BB.

CapBall Grade – F – Sorry if that seems harsh, and it’s never good to see someone injured but given his abject failure at the plate and Michael Morse’s performance in his stead, but there is really no other grade to be given. Even his stellar fielding was not enough to move this grade upwards, given the limited number of games played, the relative difficulty of his position and the outstanding defenders he played alongside.

2012 Nats Status – Adam LaRoche enters spring training as the starting first-baseman just like last year. Although there have been many reports linking Prince Fielder to the Nats, there are simply greater priorities than first base, so LaRoche will be the guy in Viera. That being said, if he struggles and a fourth outfielder emerges, I would not be surprised to see Michael Morse slide back into the first base spot and push Adam to the bench. Spring Training is make-or-break for LaRoche’s career.

More thoughts to share about Adam LaRoche. Or perhaps mad love for David Freese. Leave it!

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