This week the Diamondbacks landed a first base power bat by inking Adam LaRoche to a one-year $4.5 million contract (with a mutual $7.5 million option for 2011). A good signing for the Diamondbacks, surely, because LaRoche had reportedly turned down a two-year $14-18 million deal from the Giants earlier in the offseason. The 34 year-old LaRoche and his reps were looking for a three-year deal but found no takers. Ouch.
I've been a big fan of Adam LaRoche for a few years now. Why? He's not an elite slugger, he only plays one position, and he doesn't rack up big numbers in any one category. The reason: he's ridiculously consistent.
Look at his last three seasons:
2009: .278 AVG, 24 HR, 80 RBI (629 PA)
2008: .277 AVG, 25 HR, 83 RBI (554 PA)
2007: .270 AVG, 21 HR, 88 RBI (632 PA)
You basically know what you're getting with him. Plus, his first and second half splits for those seasons tell another rather obvious tale:
1st Half: .250 AVG, 12 HR, 39 RBI
2nd Half: .311 AVG, 13 HR, 44 RBI
1st Half: .251 AVG, 11 HR, 43 RBI
2nd Half: .304 AVG, 14 HR, 42 RBI
1st Half: .239 AVG, 13 HR, 51 RBI
2nd Half: .312 AVG, 8 HR, 37 RBI
LaRoche has pretty good power throughout a complete season, but his batting average goes up immensely as the year goes along. In many fantasy leagues, he's even available in the free agent pile until June, at which point savvy fantasy owners will pick him up and plug him into the lineup.
He should slot near the middle of a good young Arizona lineup that includes 3B Mark Reynolds, OF Justin Upton, and SS Stephen Drew and could see increased RBI opportunities depending on how the table-setters perform.
When fantasy draft day rolls along, LaRoche could be a solid bench or corner option, provided you can ride his first half struggles. As stated above, he's not a great hitter, but he's very consistent so you know what you're getting.