MLB 2012: Top 10 Candidates for Comeback Player of the Year

Robert TheodorsonSenior Analyst IMarch 9, 2012

MLB 2012: Top 10 Candidates for Comeback Player of the Year

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    After a forgettable 2010 with the New York Yankees, Lance Berkman was brought to the St. Louis Cardinals where he revived his career and went on to be a huge part of their World Series team. 

    Berkman captured the 2011 Comeback Player of the Year Award after putting up numbers that resembled those in his prime with the Houston Astros. Not only was he a regular season success, but he was a postseason hero as well.

    Here are 10 candidates who hope to follow in Berkman's footsteps and reclaim their greatness—and perhaps capture a World Series. 

Buster Posey

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    2011 Stats

    .284 - 4 - 21 

    .368 OBP, 5 2B


    Before the injury that caused the 2010 NL Rookie of the Year to miss the entire season, Posey was on pace for another fantastic campaign.

    The Giants looked rather lost without one of the biggest pieces of their offense last year, just after winning the World Series. 

    Posey has the power to turn himself into one of the National League's best talents. 


    2012 Prediction

    .320 - 30 - 85 

    .398 OBP, 30 2B

Adam Wainwright

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    2011 Stats



    Wainwright did not play last season due to an injury that saw him sit out a year where his St. Louis Cardinals went on to win the World Series without him. The Card's 1A/1B ace is back.

    Though it will take time for Adam to get back in the groove of things, along with Chris Carpenter, the two form one of the better starting rotations in the National League. 

    The two-time Cy Young finalist will continue to dominate.


    2012 Prediction

    2.20 ERA 1.25 WHIP

    19W 8L 

    Cy Young Finalist

Adam Dunn

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    2011 Stats

    .159 - 11 - 42 

    .292 OBP, 177 SO


    In what could only be considered one of the worst years ever for a veteran major leaguer, Dunn couldn't hit anything in 2011. 

    After back to back 100 RBI seasons in Washington, the White Sox signed Dunn as another power threat that would easily slug 40 homers and get over 100 RBI in that small Chicago ballpark.

    If Dunn doubled his numbers, he could be considered a comeback candidate, just based on how awful he was last year.


    2012 Prediction

    .234 - 29 - 75 

    .312 OBP, 180 SO 

Josh Johnson

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    2011 Stats

    1.64 ERA 0.98 WHIP

    3W 1L 56 SO in 9 GP


    Johnson is a phenomenal talent that has entrenched himself as the Marlin's starter. 

    In a full season with his new Miami Marlins, Johnson is a surefire bet for Cy Young candidacy. 

    It will be interesting to see how pitchers and batters react to the new ballpark and how it effects their numbers. 

    Slowly but surely, the Marlins look like they have finally fielded a team that is capable of winning a lot of games, something Johnson was doing even when the team was spending no money.


    2012 Prediction

    1.70 ERA 0.89 WHIP

    20W 11L Over 200 SO

Joe Nathan

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    2011 Stats

    4.48 ERA 1.16 WHIP

    2W 1L 18 SV


    The Rangers signing Nathan to a short deal has allowed them to replace CJ WIlson with Neftali Feliz in the starting rotation. 

    When healthy, Nathan has been one of MLB's best closers in recent years. 

    A long-time Minnesota Twin, Nathan will most likely get a shot at the postseason. Because of the Rangers' offense, Nathan might not get as many save opportunities as he did with the Twins. However, the lessened work load for the 37 year old might be a good thing.


    2012 Prediction

    1.80 ERA 1.02 WHIP 

    3W 3L 31 SV

Jayson Weth

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    2011 Stats

    .232 - 20 - 58 

    .330 OBP, 19 SB


    In what was one of the biggest over payments for a free agent in recent memory, Jayson Werth simply did not pay off for the Nats in his first year in DC. 

    Werth, along with several other Nats, will look to rebound in 2012 and try to justify the huge contract he received. 

    At 32 Werth can still be considered in his prime, and he should be more settled in his new surroundings. 


    2012 Prediction

    .275 - 22 - 68 

    .345 OBP, 15 SB

Hanley Ramirez

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    2011 Stats

    .243 - 10 - 45 

    .333 OBP, 20 SB


    Two years back, Ramirez was one of baseball's brightest young stars. 

    He was a guy who looked destined to hit above .300 his entire career and be one of the elite base stealing threats of his day. 

    Ramirez took a nose dive last year and was the subject of many trade rumors.

    With a new ball park, new position at third base and new names and uniforms, Ramirez should be able to lead the Miami Marlins to the playoffs in a few short years. 


    2012 Prediction

    .311 - 27 - 89

    .400 OBP, 38 SB

Ryan Zimmerman

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    2011 Stats

    .289 - 12 - 49

    .355 OBP 


    Baseball's newest $100 million man is the past, present and future of the Washington Nationals. 

    Even though he was the face of the franchise in years past, Zimmerman will be Washington's most popular household name until Bryce Harper finally makes his mark in the majors. Zimmerman had another injury riddled year in which he only played 101 games.

    One of the best defensive third basemen in the game, Zimmerman plays both sides of the ball exceptionally well.


    2011 Prediction

    .302 - 28 - 94

    .359 OBP 

    Gold Glove at 3B

Stephen Strasburg

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    2011 Stats

    1.50 ERA 0.71 WHIP

    1W 1L 24 SO in 5 GP


    Washington's ace is back from Tommy John surgery and looks to be better than ever. What we can expect from Strasburg is an incredibly high number of strikeouts. In his young and oft injured career, Strasburg is already well over a strikeout per inning.

    If he can stay healthy there's no reason he can't turn into a 15 game winner with a rather powerful lineup behind him. 

    Strasburg is definitely one of those players that people will pay admission just to see throw. 


    2012 Prediction

    1.98 ERA 0.90 WHIP

    16W 12L Strikeouts will be 1.5 per IP 

Carl Crawford

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    2011 Stats

    .255 - 11 - 56 

    .289 OBP, 18 SB


    Crawford had his worst full year ever in the majors during his first year with the Red Sox. Plagued by lackadaisical attitudes and play, the Red Sox had one of the biggest collapses ever in baseball history after they missed the playoffs once again, even after spending big money on free agents like Crawford.

    At only 30 years old, Crawford still has elite speed and should be more than capable of getting last year's paltry sum of 18 stolen bases. With a still potent lineup, look for Crawford's run totals and RBI to increase dramatically if the rest of the team decides to straighten up and fly right under Valentine. 


    2012 Prediction

    .275 - 9 - 67

    .350 OBP, 32 SB