Adam LaRoche is having a down year for him. In fact, this is his worst full year as a MLB player. Note, this year is the aberration, not last year.I have heard this completely wrong analysis is the Nationals more than once:
“It was unrealistic for the Nats to expect a repeat of last year, where many players had career years”
By that they could not be talking about Zimmerman, Werth, Harper, or Desmond. All four have actually been around the same or a little bit better this year than last. “Career Year” is code word for Adam LaRoche. So lets look at the career of Adam LaRoche. He has been a remarkably consistent hitter. For comparison purposes I removed this year and last year and 2011 (when he was clearly hurt) for career comparisons.
Last year he hit 33 home runs, which was a career best, which was about one home run per 20 AB. In his career he average one home run every 24 at bats with a standard with a standard deviation of 4. So, his results from last year were within normal ranges. In 06 with the Braves he hit one every 17 at bats. This year he has hit one every 26 at bats. Again, within his career norms, but this time on the low side..
Adam has been a .271 career hitter. Last year, he was .271 hitter. This year he is only hitting .235. His standard deviation for batting was only 9 percentage points. Notice last year was normal Adam, this year not normal. OBP: Career average .338, Last year.343 with a standard deviation of 13 . This year he is almost 20 percentage points below his career norm. His best year was 09 the year he was traded twice.
Bottom line: Looking at his stats, 2006 was his career year, with last year being one of his best but. His numbers were not too much out of his career norms though. I think a lot of Nats fans are unfamiliar with him as a player and use his 2011 season where he was hurt in the Spring as a point of reference . This year is the strange year where he is performing outside what he normally does. especially in AVG.. Here is the catch, LaRoche is a real streaky hitter. He could catch fire in September (like he has done in the past) or he could be on an age related rapid decline in skills. This year his BA has dropped, but there are only 2 other first basemen in the NL who have more home runs than him. The Nats have LaRoche under contract for another year. There is already a chorus of people ready to dump Adam in a trade. When it comes to his future with the team, I would expect him to here next year. For the future, look up Jose Abrau.