If you paid attention to the DC baseball world yesterday, be it on a website or on twitter, the talk of the day seemed to be Roger Bernadina‘s massive muscles. The pictures don’t lie, those are pretty big arms for a baseball player. Is it possible that bulking up will make Bernie better? If you can buy what sportswriters have said about the last decade of baseball, then you can buy that since Bernie got bigger, he will hit with more power. Where will that get him?
Right now, PECOTA predicts he’ll hit .260/.321/.382 in 450 PAs. The playing time will be adjusted before the season starts to account for playing time, but it certainly isn’t unreasonable, especially if Morgan or Ankiel struggle. Before we get into adding stats on to Roger, let’s take a look at how often he hits the ball in the air. His career GB/FB ratio is 0.97. It’s not at the high end, where a guy like Morgan (1.16) might want to be, but it isn’t as low as some power hitters like Zimmerman (0.74). Either way, I think it’s reasonable to assume that an addition of power would add some home runs to his arsenal, rather than just some hard hit grounders. But there would be some of those, too.
According to his projections, he’s slated to hit 8 HRs. If the additional power gave him 4 more homers (which doesn’t seem like alot, but it’s a 50% increase) his numbers would change quite a bit. If 4 of his fly outs turned into home runs, and everything else stayed the same, he’d hit .270/.329/.419. Suddenly quite a bit better looking, and for a CF it’s darn good. An OPS of .748 as opposed to .703, due to 4 measly home runs.
But let’s go even further. Even though PECOTA has him at 8 HRs, he actually hit 11 in 461 PAs last year – almost identical to their PA prediction. So let’s say he doesn’t hit 4 more HRs than PECOTA predicts, instead he hits 4 more HRs than he did last year. Again, all of those were flyouts turned into dingers, for the sake of calculation. With now a 15 HR season, he is suddenly hitting .278/.336/.449. Now that’s a good center fielder, an OPS of .785 would have ranked him 5th in the NL among those who qualify.
Of course, this isn’t really a scientific analysis, it’s just some insight into how a few hits can change the way a season is perceived. Either way, if Bernadina end up hitting with more power, it could end up being very useful. What might be most helpful, though, is if he worked out his eyes in the Netherlands and ended up increasing his OBP.