AdaMVP

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The Nationals offense has done so much damage as a unit lately that individual performances have been largely assimilated into the mass of gaudy numbers. Washington bombed 15 home runs in outscoring the Cubs 31-9 over a four-game sweep and the Nats are averaging 8.8 runs per game through the first eight games of their current homestand. But one player in particular is posting even more absurd stats, laying legitimate claim to the nickname we gave him early this year: AdaMVP.

We began using the moniker back in early May, as Adam LaRoche carried a depleted Nationals offense through the early part of the season. His numbers eased back to earth as the rest of the lineup returned, piece by piece, to pick up the slack. But as the calendar has flipped to September, with a full complement of support around him, LaRoche has caught fire once again.

Adam LaRoche has slugged his way into the NL MVP discussion.

The veteran slugger has been impossibly hot through his first six games of the month, posting a line of .524/.583/1.381 (yes, a 1.381 slugging percentage) with six home runs, seven runs scored and 11 RBI. He homered in all four games against the Cubs, against whom he went deep a total of seven times in the seven games the two teams played against one another this season.

If that wasn’t mind-boggling enough, consider this: LaRoche is just the sixth player in Major League history to homer in all four games of a series, including at least one multi-homer performance. The other five guys? Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Hank Greenberg, Babe Ruth and Mike Schmidt. For those readers less well-versed in the annals of baseball history, yes, all five of those player are Hall-of-Famers.

The first baseman figures to be a lock for National League Comeback Player of the Year, but the quality of his season seems deserving of more than just that honor. He leads all National League first basemen in hits (130), home runs (29), RBI (92) and slugging percentage (.511) and needs just four more longballs and nine more RBI to set new career marks.

It is no surprise that LaRoche continues to thrive late in the year, as he has traditionally posted his best numbers after the All-Star break. He has gone deep 14 times in 53 games since the break, after hitting 15 longballs in 73 first-half contests. If he (and the Nationals) continues at this pace, the strongest offensive force for the team with the best record in baseball, he will warrant legitimate consideration as the Most Valuable Player in the National League.

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