He’s baaaaaack! I don’t know if any Braves position player in the last nineteen years has suffered as much fan abuse as LaRoche. Maybe Blauser, over a longer period of time. There have been guys who were more hated, but they didn’t last long. LaRoche’s problems were twofold. First, he is, even when he is taking his ADD medication… I’ll say “laid-back”. Second, he isn’t Fred McGriff or Andres Galarraga. Of course, he looks a lot better when compared to Scott Thorman and Casey Kotchman.

Adam was a guy who rose through the system steadily, was never an elite prospect, but never really had a bad year. He had a tendency to need adjustment periods between levels. He’s a bit unusual, especially for someone who wasn’t a great prospect, in that he was given a starting job (actually, the lefthanded half of a platoon) straight out of spring training with no prior major league experience. He was pretty terrible when he started out in 2004, but played well in the second half. I thought it was the adjustment period again, but it turns out he’s just a second-half player.

Since being traded for Mike Gonzalez (after I’d already done a writeup — oh, I remember, Schuerholz) he did his thing in Pittsburgh for a couple of years. He didn’t play too well in 2007, basically back to his 2004-05 level. But he played better in 2008, almost as well as he did in 2006. This season, he’s slumped, but a lot of that appears to me to be luck, some batted balls that didn’t find holes. The Braves reacquired him in the hopes that he’d have another big second half for them.

He isn’t really interchangeable with Kotchman. He has more power, while Casey walks more and has a better glove. Adam throws better, but there’s not much more irrelevant than a first baseman’s throwing arm. Both are terribly slow.

Adam LaRoche Statistics and History – Baseball-Reference.com

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