<
>

What's next for Lance Berkman?

"Baseball Tonight" (airing at 3:30 p.m. ET) will be taking a closer look this week at players in the spotlight for 2011, asking the question "What's next?" for that player. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Lance Berkman vs RHP

Pitches over Middle-Third (width)

Lance Berkman went from a player whose career was thought to be on the verge of ending to a pivotal player on a World Series-winning team.

Berkman was one of baseball’s most prodigious mashers in his prime, posting an average season of a .301 batting average, 32 home runs and 107 RBIs from 2001 to 2009. After falling in 2010, he nearly matched that average in 2011, hitting .301 with 31 home runs and 94 RBIs.

Lance Berkman vs RHP

Pitches over Middle-Third (width)

Berkman re-found his power stroke from the left side, particularly when a pitcher would make a mistake, as noted in the chart on the right and the heat maps below. He averaged a home run every 25 at-bats versus right-handed pitching in 2010, one every 14 at-bats in 2011.

The focus figures to increase on Berkman in 2012 with the departure of Albert Pujols from the St. Louis lineup.

The question is: Can he maintain this sort of success for another year?

Left: Lance Berkman's hot/cold zones for power as a LHB (2010)

Right: Berkman's hot/cold zones for power as a LHB (2011)

Click here to create your own Berkman heat maps

What will Berkman do in 2012? Discuss and debate below.