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Fantasy Baseball: Man on Fire – Adam LaRoche

A perennial slow starter, Adam LaRoche certainly did not disappoint in April this year, batting just .136 (11-for-80) during the season’s first month. Adam has flipped the switch in May, posting a sizzling .329/.408/.576 slash line with 14 runs scored, 15 RBI and 8 home runs. He’s hit in 21 of his last 23 games and provided a steady bat in a Nationals lineup that has been hampered by injuries and inconsistency early in the year.

Still, LaRoche’s strong May has yet to overshadow his abysmal start to the year. The counting stats have begun to fall into line with preseason expectations and LaRoche is now on pace for 28 home runs and 80 RBI for the season even though his average still sits at .235 for the year. A quick check of ESPN.com’s fantasy player rater has LaRoche as the 29th best first baseman so far this year, however, in the last 15 days he’s been the third best man at his position.

LaRoache’s slow starts have become customary and you need to look no further than his career first half/second half splits to find the answer. Prior to the all-star break, LaRoche has been nothing special, posting a .247 average and a .766 OPS; in the second half, however, his bat comes alive year after year. With a .293 average and .886 OPS Adam LaRoche has been a consistently elite second-half play for the balance of his career. Last year LaRoche was able to get his swing going right out of the gates and turned his strong start into a career year with 33 home runs and 100 RBI. The Nats first baseman is trending that way once again, but his poor season long statistics create a nice buy low opportunity at the moment.

The veteran first baseman has been a top-10 option at his position for the last month and we fully expect him to remain there for the remainder of the 203 campaign. Mitch Moreland, Michael Cuddyer, James Loney, and Mark Trumbo all currently rank ahead of LaRoche in terms of overall fantasy value so far this seasons, and we’d flip any one of them for LaRoche if given the chance. Don’t get bogged down by the ugly batting average, Adam LaRoche is a man on fire, and it’s time to go get him for you fantasy team.

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