The Resurgent Lance Berkman

PhillyBirds

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One of the best stories of the 2011 MLB campaign has been the tremendous bounce-back season from St. Louis outfielder/first baseman Lance Berkman.

St. Louis signed Berkman to a one year deal an offseason ago, and it struck many as a peculiar addition. As he would not occupy first base, the Cardinals stunned many again by putting him down as their every day right fielder, a position he hadn't played regularly since 2004. At 35 years old, the decision had all the makings of a disaster.

But Berkman's bat bounced back, and then some. After batting .299/.412/.555 from 1999 to 2009 in Houston, Berkman slipped to .248/.368/.413 in 2010 between Houston and the New York Yankees. In 2011 so far, he is hitting a robust .288/.400./.599, while leading the National League in slugging percentage, OPS (on base percentage plus slugging) and home runs thus far. His defense has been about as advertised in right field, but his bat more than makes up for it in this case. When starting first baseman Albert Pujols went down with an injury, Berkman didn't miss a beat. While playing first base, he continued his tremendous power surge, keeping the Cardinals neck and neck in the tough Central division.

The Big Puma has a great case for comeback player of the year in 2011, and is a great example of a white slugger showing good longevity in the league. With the Cardinals tied atop the NL Central, Lance, along with fellow white outfielder Matt Holliday, have been major cogs in their success this season.
 

Van_Slyke_CF

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Berkman's having a great season. He deserves credit for the hard work he put in to get in better shape for this season, and I hope he can stay healthy and become one of the few switch hitters to go over 400 HRs in a couple years.
 
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