In his five years with the Rangers, Josh Hamilton had some amazing moments, unbelievable weeks and more than a handful of memorable months. In all of those months, however, he never flirted with a .500 on-base percentage. In his first month with the Rangers, Lance Berkman is. Berkman carried a .509 OBP into Monday’s series opener with the Los Angeles Angels and Hamilton. It was the best OBP in the American League and the third best in MLB. He has been everything the Rangers needed when they went scrambling for a replacement for Hamilton. The Rangers realized they weren’t going to get Hamilton’s power potential, but there were other areas where they could improve upon Hamilton’s free-swinging approach at the plate. “We were looking for a guy to give us consistent quality professional at-bats,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. “He’s given us that and more. There are some guys who are power hitters and some guys who are on-base guys. He’s just a smart hitter. It’s not an all-or-nothing approach with him. He adjusts.” When he’s been in the lineup, the man can still hit. The question is how much can he be in the lineup. In the Rangers’ first 19 games, he sat out four games due to achy knees, cold weather, playing under NL rules or some combination of the three. The Rangers are 2-2 in those games and averaging 2.25 runs. After missing both games in Chicago last week due to the weather and NL rules, Berkman returned to the lineup for all three games against Seattle. He reached seven times — at least twice in every game — on three hits and a walk. His two-run single on Saturday helped break open a tight game. Not coincidentally, the team scored 23 runs in three games. In the 14 games, Berkman started before Monday, the Rangers were averaging 4.9 runs per game. Maybe it is just perception, but when Berkman plays and displays patience at the plate, it seems to carry over to his teammates.
Lance Berkman already proving a positive influence on Texas Rangers’ offense
Dallas Morning News | Apr 23