MLB 2011 Bounce Back Player of the Week: Lance Berkman, St. Louis Cardinals

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MLB 2011 Bounce Back Player of the Week: Lance Berkman, St. Louis Cardinals
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

During the first decade of this millennium, 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 alongside Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell.

In his first three full seasons, Berkman was sixth in Rookie of the Year voting and was a two-time All-Star:

Year

Games

R

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

2000

114

76

21

67

6

.297

2001

156

110

34

126

7

.331

2002

158

106

42

128

8

.292

 

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 two HRs and a .255 average to .234.

In St. Louis they have a guy named Albert Pujols keeping Berkman from playing first base, so he will see his first regular time in the outfield in several years. The fact that he’s getting regular playing time and that Tony La Russa’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, Texas Rangers' Ian Kinsler

Brian is a Senior Writer for 4thandHome.com where this, and other work, can be found. Additionally, he is co-host of the 4th and Home Radio show on Blog Talk Radio.

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