Fantasy Baseball Profile: Is Lance Berkman a Has-Been?
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Maybe has-been is too strong of a word for Berkman, but his HR total has dipped three straight years, and his numbers took a pretty sharp decline last year thanks to injuries. He’s no longer considered a second round pick. Even the third round seems premature for my 11th ranked first basemen (click to see rankings).
His 2009 dip is actually not that uncommon for Berkman. His even year/odd year splits since 2002 are staggering.
Even year averages: .309, 104.8 runs, 36.5 HRs, 119 RBIs, 9.5 SBs
Odd year aveages: ..283, 88.5 runs, 27 HRs, 89.3 RBIs, 5.8 SBs
If his eight-year trend were to continue, his fantasy owners would be in store for a big payday. For a guy that turns 34 tomorrow (happy early birthday Lance), I don’t quite see that happening. At his age, injuries are more likely to pop up, and you’re more likely to take longer to recover from them, especially as the season wears on.
The good news if you’re trying to draft him, he’s historically does the bulk of his damage in the first half of the season. His OPS (.994 compared to .937) is significantly better before the All-Star game. His AB/HR ratio is 15.3 before the break and 18.9 after it. He also has 0.76 RBIs per game before the break and 0.63 after it. The past two years, in particular, he had 40 HRs before the break and 14 after it.
My suggestion if you take Berkman in your draft is to try to move him in July or early August. Get good value as you head down the home stretch.
Prediction: .300, 90 runs, 30 HRs, 90 RBIs, 4 SBs
Arizona Diamondbacks: Brandon Webb
Atlanta Braves: Yunel Escobar
Baltimore Orioles: Adam Jones
Boston Red Sox: Clay Buchholz
Chicago Cubs: Geovany Soto
Chicago White Sox: Jake Peavy
Cincinnati Reds: Joey Votto
Cleveland Indians: Grady Sizemore
Colorado Rockies: Ubaldo Jimenez
Detroit Tigers: Miguel Cabrera
Florida Marlins: Cameron Maybin