It’s one of fantasy land’s most mythical beasts: the
power-speed threat who won’t kill your team’s average.
Rarely seen in the wild — or on the waiver wire — most
owners are forced to pay upwards of $30 at pre-season auctions or surrender
vast riches in the trade market just to catch a glimpse of this oh-so-valuable
But peer through the trees, owners, and you’ll see Roger
Bernadina — a potential roto unicorn quietly roaming the outfield of Nationals
Bernadina appeared poised for a breakout rookie year last
season after hitting .335/.400/.490 with nine homers and 40 steals over 120
games split between Double-A and Triple-A in ’08. Unfortunately, a nasty broken
ankle limited his ’09 season just 10 games.
The injury doesn’t appear to have any residual effects,
however, as the 26-year-old bounced back to hit .282/.345/.436 with five home
runs and seven steals in the first half, including a stellar .329/.409/.476
line in June.
Though the .335 average in ’08 is something of an outlier
compared to Bernadina’s Minor League track record, his peripheral stats
indicate that something in .275 range isn’t too much of a stretch. The speed is
certainly for real (he averaged 40 steals per 162 games in the Minors), and power should continue to develop as he becomes more comfortable at the big
Slotted into the No. 2 spot in Washington’s lineup,
Bernadina should be in line for plenty of runs with Ryan Zimmerman, Adam Dunn
and Josh Willingham backing him up. Stellar defense in right field should will Mike Morse from stealing too much playing time, and the three-day
All-Star break should provide ample time to fully recover from the back stiffness
that hampered him last week.
Put it together Bernadina’s skill set and opportunity, and
you’re looking at a floor of Willy Taveras or Corey Patterson type production
and a ceiling of Brian Roberts or Shane Victorino (circa ’07-’09).
In the short term, I’m projecting him at .277 AVG, 40 R, 7
HR, 32 RBI and 17 SB for the remainder of 2010. He should be owned in all
NL-only formats and has enough upside to play in 12-team or deeper mixed