Lance Berkman Gettin His Ugly On In St. Louis
During the first decade of the 2000’s, Lance Berkman was a staple in any conversation about the best hitters in baseball. Through almost 12 seasons in Houston he had become the face of the franchise along with Roy Oswalt and was a former member of the killer B’s taking Derek Bell’s place in 2000 along with Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell.
In his first 3 full seasons Berkman was 6th in Rookie of the Year voting and was a two-time All-Star:
Clearly, Lance was off to an incredible start to his career. Starting out with other superstars around and then having the team fade into mediocrity, Berkman flew considerably under the radar based upon the kind of offensive stats he was posting year in and year out. With 327 career home runs and 1,099 RBI the power threat is obvious, but he is also a career .296 hitter.
Over the last four seasons we have seen Berkman’s home run numbers drop steadily, 34, 29, 25, and finally 14 last season. However, that has been somewhat mirrored by his decline in games played, 153, 159, 136 and 122. Additionally, last season in the second half we saw a drastic drop in both power and batting average, 12 HRs to 2 HRs and .255 Avg to .234.
In St. Louis they have a guy named Pujols keeping Berkman from playing 1st base, so he will see his first regular time in the outfield in years. The fact that he’s getting regular playing time and that LaRussa’s team has a history of getting the most out of older players is why I believe we are looking at a better year in 2011. See exhibit A, Jim Edmonds, and exhibit B, Larry Walker, for further proof. With a current ADP of 261, I see Berkman as a value pick with a late round flier.
2011 Fantasy Forecast: 70 R, 20 HR, 75 RBI, 4 SB, .270 Avg
Previous Bounce Back Selections: Pablo Sandoval, Justin Upton, Jimmy Rollins, Jason Bay, Russell Martin, Ian Kinsler