Lance Berkman doesn’t quite get the same national publicity that some of the other big bats in the Big Leagues. That’s not to say he’s totally off the radar, but if you think about the type of numbers he’s put up for the Astros in recent years, you’d think we’d be seeing him in a few more commercials and media appearances. Anyway, Berkman and the ‘Stros are set to kick off their 2009 season in about a week. In 2008, they were a terrible baseball club for the better part of the year, but ripped off a surprisingly dominant stretch of games in August to at least keep things somewhat respectable.
Berkman’s power numbers again declined in 2008 for the second year in a row. He hit just 29 HRs, down from 34 in ’07 and a career high of 45 in ’06. He still knocked in 100+ RBIs though, batted .312, and had an OPS over 1.000. What’s in store for Berkman in ’09? Let’s hear from the Texan, who joined KILT in Houston on Wednesday to talk about the upcoming season.
On his recent torrid streak during spring training:
“Yeah I mean I feel good. It’s one of those things where I wish we were playing for real because the only thing that can happen now is bad. I’ve felt really good this spring. From the word go, I felt like I’ve had a good swing and seen the ball well. Some years it takes you a little bit longer than others to find it but this year it felt like it came pretty quick.”
On what he has done to try to not have a poor second half of the year individually like he did last year:
“One thing I’d like to do is get my legs in a little better shape because part of my problem was I felt like I got a little tired towards the end. This year my main goal is to make sure I keep my legs strong the whole year.”
Projections for Berkman (from Fangraphs)
Bill James: .295, 103 R, 33 HR, 113 RBIs, .413 OBP, .541 SLG
Zips: .299, 95 R 30 HRs, 100 RBIs, .400 OBP, .534 SLG