Thursday, June 11, 2015

Maybe Adam LaRoche isn't going to be a bust after all

I feel like Adam LaRoche hasn't gotten a fair shake from White Sox fans this year.

I knew it was going to be that way, too, because LaRoche is a notorious slow starter, and for many of the meathead fans in Chicago, first impressions are lasting impressions.

Predictably, LaRoche had a bad April for the Sox, and the fans labeled him as the second coming of Adam Dunn.

Some went so far to give LaRoche the nickname "Adam LaDunn," which is an unfair comparison. Unlike Dunn, LaRoche is a good-fielding first baseman, and he has always hit for a respectable average. And, while LaRoche is not exactly a fast runner, he's not the lumbering baseplugger Dunn is, either.

But hey, LaRoche's first name is Adam, he bats left, he used to play for the Washington Nationals, and he's a first baseman. BAM! They must be the same player! So say the meatheads.

Unfortunately for the small-minded folks who want to declare LaRoche a bust, the veteran has been playing better as the year has moved along. His home run in the sixth inning Wednesday night tied the game, and the Sox went on to beat the Houston Astros, 4-1, to complete a three-game sweep.

Let's take a look at what LaRoche has done by month:

April: .191/.286/.353
May: .270/.420/.427
June: .300/.344/.567

LaRoche's career split in April is .222/.316/.397, so this year's start was even worse than normal for him. But, it falls in line with his career trend. His career splits for May and June are .261/.350/.456 and .261/.336/.460, respectively, so just as he has his whole career, LaRoche is showing improvement in May and June.

We can see now that LaRoche is starting to recover from his bad start, progressing toward his career norms:

2015 season: .246/.362/.422
Career: .263/.340/.470

He's not quite where he should be yet, but it's going to take a little while longer to erase that poor April. Nevertheless, we're starting to see evidence that LaRoche is still the player the Sox thought they were getting when they signed him to a two-year contract this past offseason.

Sox fans would do well to get over their obsession with Dunn and his failures and judge LaRoche on his own merits.

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