While I have been as positive as I possibly can be in regards to Chicago White Sox designated hitter Adam LaRoche, I think it is time to sit him. I know there are many stats out there about how he is a second-half player, the fact that he will hit home runs in bunches, etc., but LaRoche is killing the White Sox.
Here is a breakdown of LaRoche’s numbers.
That is LaRoche’s batting average thus far this season. Yes, we are talking Adam Dunn-like numbers. While LaRoche has a Dunn-like average, he does not hit for anywhere near the power Dunn did. LaRoche needs to hit in the .260-.270 range to be effective, something he is not doing.
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LaRoche’s batting average versus left-handed pitching is under .200. He also has a K/BB rate of 31/3 against lefties, something that is unacceptable for someone who was brought in to protect Jose Abreu.
With LaRoche being so awful versus left-handers, it made it easy to pitch to the White Sox lineup early in the season (late in games). With LaRoche behind Abreu, if there was a base open, the opponent walked Abreu and brought in a left-hander to face LaRoche.
When LaRoche came to the plate, he was retired easily. It made it too easy too pitch around Abreu, which may have partially caused his issues chasing balls outside of the strike zone.
The OBP of Adam LaRoche. Considering the fact that LaRoche was brought in to provide a solid middle-of-the-order bat for the White Sox, an OBP that low killed the offense. Not to mention his low home run total, poor K/BB rate, among other things.
Total home runs for LaRoche in 2015. For a designated hitter, that is completely unacceptable (barring a .320 batting average). With 352 at-bats, that means he is hitting a home run about once every 35 at-bats. The better power bats in the game are significantly higher than that, and while I didn’t expect him to be the league leader in homers, I certainly didn’t expect this, either.
Here is the big problem the White Sox have with LaRoche. They signed him to a two-year deal this past offseason, which means he is under contract for next year.
While they could deal him over the next several months, it is unlikely that the White Sox could move him without paying some of next year’s salary. It is possible his issue is completely due to changing leagues and becoming a designated hitter.
There is also a possibility that he is past his prime and the LaRoche we saw with the Washington Nationals is a thing of the past.
With such a poor power output this season, and an eight-figure deal for 2016, it is likely that the White Sox will be paying for part of or most of LaRoche, and that is whether he plays for the White Sox or not.