Washington Nationals: Where's the Respect for Adam LaRoche?

Chris StephensCorrespondent IIApril 29, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 27:  Adam LaRoche #25 of the Washington Nationals celebrates his two run homerun with the dugout to trail 3-2 to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the sixth inning at Dodger Stadium on April 27, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Adam LaRoche is one of the most under-the-radar players in MLB.

The Washington Nationals first baseman has done nothing but produce during his big-league career, and still, he doesn't get the respect he deserves.

LaRoche may not hit the 40 or 50 home runs that Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder did in the NL, but year-in and year-out, LaRoche is a 20-plus home run guy with 80 or more RBI.

Still, he doesn't get the respect he deserves as being one of the more consistent first basemen in the National League.

He's producing again this year with four home runs, 17 RBI and a .338 average, but still, no respect.

Sure first basemen like Joey Votto and Freddie Freeman are going to get their press time, and deservedly so, but what about LaRoche?

Other than last year when he was limited to 43 games, LaRoche has produced in every season of his big-league career.

Take out last year and his rookie year, then LaRoche has hit 20 or more home runs with 78 or more RBI every year.

LaRoche currently leads all NL first basemen in average, home runs, RBI, hits and slugging percentage.

Still, he won't get the all-star votes he deserves.

Votto will be voted in by the fans to start the game, while Freeman will likely be voted in by the players and managers.

I hope that this doesn't happen and LaRoche is selected to the game, but I won't get my hopes up.

I put LaRoche in the same category as Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks when it comes to the All-Star Game. Both consistently produce every year, but they don't get the respect they deserve when it comes to the All-Star Game.

With Fielder and Pujols gone now, my hope is that LaRoche finally gets the respect he deserves.

Barring an injury that puts him out the rest of the year, or a major decline in production, I think it will be a major travesty for him not to represent the National League in the All-Star Game.

He's earned that right.

Now, only if the fans and/or the players and managers will get it right instead of voting based on popularity.