What If, Lance Berkman….?

Lance Berkman: One of the All Time Astro Greats.

Lance Berkman: One of the All Time Astro Greats.

What if Lance Berkman had been able to remain in the big leagues for another five years (2014-18) at the same level he played during his five highest past batting average seasons? Would he have then done enough to have elevated his Hall of Fame estimations in the eyes of the writers’ voting group?

In my mind there’s hardly any doubt about it, in spite of the improbability that any 38-year old veteran could suddenly rip off a string of five amazing seasons at this point, given the damage that already has occurred to Berkman from aging and injury. This exercise is more of a suggestion that, if Berkman been able to sustain a slightly higher level of production and been in better shape to have avoided certain injuries over the course of his career, he might have achieved the HOF induction that now most probably eludes him forever. Lance Berkman had a good career, but not a great one.

First of all, take a look at the career batting stats for Lance Berkman at Baseball Reference.Com. Note that he batted only .293 with 366 HR, 1146 runs, and 1234 RBI over his 15 seasons in the big leagues.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/berkmla01.shtml

Now let’s take a look at what at what happens to Berkman’s career stats if he could have played those five extra seasons and achieved the identical stat outcomes that he actually produced in his five actual best seasons of 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2011. For brevity’s sake here, our first table only shows the at bats, runs, hits, rbi, and home runs for each of those seasons by Berkman and then totals what they would have added to his actual accomplishments:

The Career of Lance Berkman with the Theoretically Repeated Addition of His 5 Best Seasons

The table simply shows what could be added to Berkman’s totals from him repeating the stats of his five best seasons over the next five years.

Note: If that level of play could have been added, or interspersed over the course of a career that went to 20 seasons, Lance Berkman would have batted an even .300 and hit a monster total of 535 home runs.

ADD SEASON

TIMES AT BAT

RUNS

HITS

RBI

HR

BATTING AVERAGE

2001

577

110

191

126

34

.331

2004

544

104

172

106

30

.316

2006

536

95

169

136

45

.315

2008

554

114

173

106

29

.312

2011

488

90

147

94

31

.301

5-YR ADD TOTAL

2699

513

852

568

169

.316

+ 15-YR  CAREER

6491

1146

1905

1234

366

.293

PROJECT 20-YEAR TOTAL

9190

1659

2757

1802

535

.300

Of course, we don’t really live in a world of “what might have been,” even though our minds sometimes get trapped there. Just ask Ralph Branca, Bill Buckner, and so many others, but it is kind of fun to pick a part the question “what separates the Hall of Famers from the larger group of really good ballplayers” and to then come away with the thought that maybe the really good ballplayers fell short from not having their five best seasons more often.

No matter what, Lance Berkman will forever remain one of the best and most liked Astros of all time.

Have a warm inside Friday somewhere, everyone.

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2 Responses to “What If, Lance Berkman….?”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    Too bad he can’t retire as an Astro, because it’s a “complicated affair” as a piece in the Chronicle put it.

  2. Sam Cochran Says:

    Would steroids have given him those 5 extra seasons ? A reasonab

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