Adam LaRoche, just signed by the Nats to a two-year deal, is just the kind of guy I like on my fantasy teams.
Because hardly anyone wants him, any more than they want Mark Ellis or Mark Buehrle.
To me, copping guys like them--undervalued, everyday starters, who produce, are the basis of a winning team. Of course, I am talking just straight 5X5 Rotoball here, as opposed to Strat-O-Matic or leagues that focus on OBP. And, it also depends on the depth of the league.
But, to me one of the secrets of success in say a tight AL or NL only format--Tout Wars is the best example I can think of--is those cast offs that most owners won't touch.
Now, LaRoche does have a somewhat mediocre career OBP of .339, however, over his seven-year career, he has averaged .271-26-93 with 40 doubles. And, those are very steady numbers.
Or Ellis, who has .268-14-68, with 31 doubles and nine swipes. Or Buehrle, with 15-11, 3.85 totals over 223 innings, with a 1.28 WHIP. True Buehrle is not a strikeout monster (126 a year on average) but, he is steady.
So, building a team around one big pitcher, and one or two big hitters, with a serious closer, then feasting on those undervalued guys that sell for the $9-$15 range in most leagues.
Now, you might think this troika is not such a cluster of sleepers, but, in the XFL, the Experts Fantasy League run by BBHQ's Ron Shandler, between 2005-08, neither Ellis nor LaRoche was even nominated during the November auction (though each did subsequently find a home during the reserve draft).
I think LaRoche will fare well in our nation's capital. I just hope not so well that he appears on everyone's radar.
Just those of a few select players, like you and me. He will be our secret.