Adam LaRoche is on First for Washington: Nationals Nation
Heading into spring training, there was a great deal of speculation as to whether the Washington Nationals Adam LaRoche would keep his position at first base. He was viewed as one of the few weak links on the team, but has clearly proven, so far, that he is far from being the weakest link. Instead, he has become one of the primary links holding the team together.
For much of his career LaRoche has been a solid player, who filled out a roster, but never made much of an impression on that roster. He did hit 32 home runs for the Atlanta Braves in 2006, and hit his career high in 2012 for the Nationals with 33, but in between came some very sub-par years. He hit 25 homers in 2008, but then just 13 the next year, and 12 the following. He then hit 25 for Arizona in 2010, then came to Washington, and produced just 3 in 43 games.
In 2012 he hit 33 home runs, and had a .271 average. These numbers inspired the Nationals to believe they had found their first baseman to man the right-side of the infield for at least a few seasons. The 33 shots were not only a career high, but the .271 average was his second highest for a full-season.
Last season, he began the year hitting.249 with 13 home runs heading into the All-Star break. Then he lost his stroke. He hit just .217 after the break, and could produce just seven homers. The Nationals were not expecting much out of him this year, and even toyed with the idea of trading away LaRoche, and moving Ryan Zimmerman to first base.
This wasn’t going to sit well with LaRoche however. Adam LaRoche came into the season ready to prove he should be the first choice for the Washington Nationals, and this is what he has done. He has come out hitting all season long, and has proven that he is the right man to be holding down the first base job.
In the first 24 games of this season, LaRoche has hit .307, with four homers and 15 RBI. He and 2B Anthony Rendon have carried this team for much of the early part of the season, with LaRoche being the most consistent.
During this last week, he hit .333, with four runs and five RBI. He also walked three times, making his OBP .407 for the week. He has consistently gotten himself on-base nearly every game, and only had one game this week where he did not reach base at least twice. That is quite a feat.
Adam LaRoche is proving that he is the one who will remain on first for the Washington Nationals. He is off to the best start of his career, and if he continues to produce like this, he will be on first for many seasons to come.
Nationals Notes: Bryce Harper was placed on the DL after jamming his thumb in Friday night’s win against the San Diego Padres. He was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to Saturday.
Steven Strasburg pitched seven innings of shutout ball against San Diego on Friday night. The win evened his record at 2-2. He struck out 11, giving him 53 strikeouts in 34 innings.
Tanner Roarke followed up Strasburg’s appearance, by shutting out the Padres on Saturday. The complete game shutout moved Roarke’s record to 2-0. He gave up just three hits and struck out eight.
Commentary by Robert Pannier
Guardian Liberty Voice Sports Writer covering the Washington Nationals