Thursday, September 10, 2009

Concern about Berkman, and his lack of hitting home runs

There is some grumbling going around on Berkman's lack of power - McTaggart pointed out that last night was the two-month anniversary of Berkman's last home run.

Richard Justice:
Lance Berkman has a .378 OBP since the All-Star Break, but he hasn't homered in 102 ABs. Getting on base is a very good thing, but it's not what Berkman is paid to do.

Until his power returns, why not slide him to No. 2 in the batting order and move everyone up a spot? Or leave everyone where they are and Hunter Pence in the No. 3 spot? Coop can then bat Kaz Matsui or whoever's playing second base in the ninth spot. Just a thought.

And JJO has a post in which Berkman denies that he's a home run hitter. Berkman:
"I don't really consider myself a home run hitter. I never have even though I've had some seasons where I've hit a bunch of home runs. I've been susceptible to the homer-less drought. If you go back and look at my career, I had a pretty good one in '03, and a pretty good one in '05. Last year I had a pretty good homer-less drought. In '04 I remember having a real long homerless drought that I broke at Shea Stadium. You remember things like that. It's not all that out of the ordinary. I wish it wouldn't happen, but all I can do is go out there and hit the ball hard...

...It's hard to figure. I wish that it weren't the case. One of the best things I've ever heard an athlete say — and I'm not saying I'm for or against him — Tony Romo said, 'If the worst thing that ever happens to me in my life is sports related I'll consider myself blessed.' I feel the same way. While this is not the season I would like to have or am accustomed to having personally and for the team, everybody faces challenges in one form or another. That's the way I look at it. I'll just try to do the best I can the rest of the year and come back next year...

...I think a lot of it is mental," he said. "Clearly you're the same guy that's had other seasons that have been a lot better than this one. I don't think I'm old enough yet to where you get the law of diminishing returns from your age. I think that might start in another three or four years. I don't know from a baseball standpoint that it begins in your early 30s. So it's hard to figure from a physical standpoint. I just think there is a mental component to it. You lose confidence, you try to do too much or you press a little bit. Those are things that I've always had to deal with my whole career. Some times I'm been able to handle it better than others."

I'll agree with Justice, here, and not Lance. Berkman has averaged 33 home runs per season in his career, and he needs three more this season to equal his career-low, when he hit 21 in 114 games (he played in his 115th game of the season last night).

Homer Recap:
2006: 45
2007: 34
2008: 29
2009: 18

That's disconcerting.