At his best, a useful player, but in his first two seasons he hasn’t managed to maintain his best work long enough. Last season, he alternated good months with bad ones. OPS by month: .689, .822, .734, .924, .571, .959. In the end, it worked out to a second straight year of Brognadom, .259/.320/.455. (Actually, he was worse than in 2004, but it was all singles; his other stats were flat.) August, his worst month, was also the month in which he came to the plate the most, 100 times even. He hit one homer and four doubles in that stretch… Is a better hitter when he walks less. Isolated OBP in the “bad” months averaged .084, in the “good” months .037. I don’t know what that means, exactly, just thought I’d point it out. Since September was his best month, and he played well in the Division Series, you can hope he’ll turn the corner, but he played well in the second half last year and that didn’t foreshadow any success.
Right now, LaRoche is the regular first baseman. The Braves don’t have anyone else who’s played first base on the major league level except Pratt (13 games between 1998 and 2003) and Renteria (once in 2001). Matt Diaz is pencilled in as the backup, but I don’t expect a platoon. If one of the outfielders is traded, the Braves might give a shot to James Jurries or Scott Thorman, who could platoon.
Not as good of a defensive player as advertised, but he did a good job with Furcal’s throws, helping push the shortstop to a should-have-won-the-Gold-Glove season. Renteria is steadier, so that’s not as much of a concern now. Probably slower than McCann, making him the slowest regular now that Estrada’s gone.
At least he seems to have developed more pop than people expected, but he was also supposed to hit for a better average and OBP too
LaRoche’s main cachet as a minor leaguer was his abilty to draw walks along with the moderate power. If he could get back to the .360-.375 obp range he showed in the minors then you could see giving him 650 PAs. Stats aside, observation shows that the weird bat movement he has (horizontal to vertical back to horizontal) makes him deadly slow on inside pitches. When he is bad he is very very bad, looking almost hopeless at the plate. You are right though, his strong post season and Sept will be enough to assure that he is the starting 1b.
I’m not as down on LaRoche as some people are. He did go through a horrible stretch in August last year and will never be a Carlos Delgado or Jim Thome, but if he can put up decent offensive numbers and play solid defense, I’d be happy with that.
Although I don’t have his postseason numbers in front of me, I have it in my mind that he usually does great. Maybe it’s just when compared with others who were supposed to be stars and flopped in the playoffs (Sheffield, Drew). Seeing Braves players actually do something in the playoffs is rare, and I’d like to hang on to those who have done stuff in the past.
He might turn out to be strictly a platoon player, but I’d like to see what he does for a couple months as an everyday player before sticking that label on him. Bottom line for me is he’s not a superstar, but firstbase is not a black hole, either.
I can’t see the Braves giving the full-time job to LaRoche yet. They went after Julio, but just didn’t want him as bad as the Mets. Jurries had a really nice season last year in Richmond, and I would not be surprised if the Braves expect him to be a platoon partner.
LaRoche, 8 games, 25 AB in two postseason series: .320/.433/.640.
I seem to remember LaRoche making some spectacular catches of routine pop-ups.
Just something random I found while reading the Hardball Times 06 Annual today: Dan Kolb had a NetWSValue of (3,400,000) which essentially means Dan Kolb, you owe the Atl Braves $3.4 mil for how shitty you pitched last yr. And Raul Mondesi owes us $1 mil too.
I know that’s not the actual application Mr. Studeman wanted for NetWSValue but I think it’s amusing.
Sorry for the double post but if Saltalamacchia has a McCann/Francoeur like rise next yr and is in AA by June, could we possibly see him taking over 1B? Obviously the position switch would lessen his value, but if LaRoche is struggling mightily, he could be the Braves’ best option…any thoughts?
Andrew how much does Hampton owe us?
Salty will start the year in AA. He could easily make the bigs by June, which is what I assume you meant to say.
Hampton certainly had positive value last year, even if he was overpaid. Actually, his ERA+ was the third-best of his career.
Hampton only pitched 70 innings last year w/ only 12 starts. While his era was good, I would have a hard time saying he had positive value last year
Of course he did. He wasn’t worth what he was paid, but there’s no way that 70 good innings has no or negative value. Kolb was bad. Hampton was good, just limited.
Look at it this way… Each good PA is a plus, each bad one is a minus. Hampton, because he didn’t throw that many innings, doesn’t pile up the pluses, but he didn’t have very many minuses at all.
Sorry, I see what your saying, but I do disagree w/ you. Kolb wasnt just bad he was terrible.
Hampton had value above a replacement level player the innings he pitched, but because of his injury he forced us to use replacement level players in his place. I think if you calculate how many runs “above average” he was, you should assume replacement level pitching in the time he missed – there should be some “punishment” for not being durable.
Net Win Shares Value
Mike Hampton’s Net Win Share Value is $ -5,817,451
Status: Free Agent
Win Shares Above Bench: 4.0
Expected WSAB (based on Salary): 11
Salary: $ 15,125,000
Net Win Shares Value is an estimate of how much a player was worth, given his contribution to the team’s wins and the conditions under which he signed his contract (free agent, arbitration, etc.). A positive amount means he contributed more value (performance per dollar paid) than the average player, and a negative amount indicates that he delivered below-average performance for his contract.
That only makes sense if you say that replacement level pitchers have negative value; most systems would give them no value, make them the zero point. (As it was, the innings mostly went to Sosa and Davies, who certainly had positive value as well.)
Some more – shows the stat is decent but not particularly useful.
Andruw Jones’s Net Win Share Value is $ 996,797
Status: Free Agent
Win Shares Above Bench: 11.0
Expected WSAB (based on Salary): 10
Salary: $ 13,000,000
Chipper Jones’s Net Win Share Value is $ -31,950
Status: Free Agent
Win Shares Above Bench: 12.0
Expected WSAB (based on Salary): 12
Salary: $ 16,000,000
Rafael Furcal’s Net Win Share Value is $ 5,110,487
Status: Arbitration Eligible
Win Shares Above Bench: 14.0
Expected WSAB (based on Salary): 8
Salary: $ 5,600,000
Marcus Giles’s Net Win Share Value is $ 7,186,363
Status: Arbitration Eligible
Win Shares Above Bench: 12.0
Expected WSAB (based on Salary): 3
Salary: $ 2,350,000
I am certainly giving LaRoche one more year to prove himself. However, if he has another year similar to the last two seasons, it is definitely time to look for another direction. His numbers look decent for a middle infielder, but not for a first baseman.
I, too, am giving LaRoche one more year to prove himself, because unless there is a miracle rabbit waiting to be pulled out of teh team’s hat, there’s just no one else. Alas, LaRoche reminds me a lot of Sid Bream, but without the intangibles that made the latter a star. The swing looks pretty, but it’s got a tire-sized hole on the inside. Put me in the camp that feels we desperately need an upgrade at first OR left, since both is too much to hope for, even more than we need a closer. I just don’t see any viable options, especially with Marte gone. Am I missing something?
Sid Bream was a star??? What did I miss? I think LF will be just fine. I also think that there will always be holes somewhere. I mean seriously is any team ever perfect? I mean the Yankees as much as the spend open with holes. Your always going to have those weak spots as much as you try not to…
I’m a new cat here, but I’ve been lurking for months. To let you know about me briefly, I’m a musician part-time and transportation coordinator full-time living here in Atlanta. Having said that, here’s my thoughts on LaRoche:
He’s got a slow swing, but so did Kruk, Will Clark and Mark Grace. In my mind if the team invests the confidence to make him a full-time player, I think he’ll thrive. If he doesn’t, I’ve seen Thorman playing at AA, and he’s a big boy who swings a big stick. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Thorman get a shot over Salty, provided that Salty doesn’t bat .430 over the first two months of the season at Mississippi.
Another Andy. I think we’re up to what four or five now that I’ve seen posting. Its kinda cool…
Is there still any chance, whatsoever, of the Braves signing Frank Thomas to a $2m or so contract with some crazy incentives, running him out at first against lefties, and keeping him on the bench as a lefty-crushing PH–even if we need to run for him on his pinch hitting days?
I realize it’s a gamble, but this is a man still fully capable of putting up an OPS over 1.000 against lefties. Even if his range at first is next to nothing; even if he’s a station-to-station baserunner, it seems like it might be worth the risk to get that bat in the lineup for an AB every day, and a start every fourth day.
(Also, I’m definitely on the drew side of Andrew–in my experience, Andys and drews are different sorts of people.)
Call me crazy but I’d take a chance on a minor league contract and an invite to Spring Training for both Sosa and Thomas. Sosa is probably the longest shot, but Thomas in my mind is pretty realistic. He’s a Georgia native, and what’s the worst that could happen? It’s sort of like the Mondesi experiment…if it doesn’t work, run his ass out of town. The same could go for Sosa. I firmly believe that Sosa has several good years left in him, if he can play with a competitor. If he goes to the Devil Rays, he’ll be done before the end of 2006.
Well apparently everyone’s mother loved the name Andrew, now didn’t they?
Anyway, I think the biggest thing about NetWS is that it’s basically a way to show how much a player was over/underpaid based upon his contract status and contract. Check out thehardballtimes.com (search Net Win Shares) or better yet read The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2006.