Need for Speed? Bourjos Accelerates into Anaheim

TEMPE, AZ - FEBRUARY 25: Peter Bourjos #25 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim poses during photo day at Tempe Diablo Stadium on February 25, 2009 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
In an interesting move the Angels have called up one of their top prospects, apparentlyto play center field. Yes, the center field that has been roamed by all-star Torii Hunter since the failed Gary Matthews Jr. signing.
The speedy outfielder is not ultra-hyped Mike Trout, but rather 23-year-old speedster Peter Bourjos.

Baseball Americaranked Bourjos as the Angels second best prospect this pre-season and Baseball Prospectushad him ranked seventh. His biggest asset is his speed, which is part of the reason the Angels have apparently decided to start him in center and move Torii Hunter to right. All reports I have read on his defense and baserunning have been excellent.

Coming off of a solid season at double-A in 2009 (.281/.354/.423, 32 SB), Bourjos has spent 2010 at triple-A Salt Lake and continued to show improvements in his plate discipline. Before his call-up, Bourjos was hitting .314/.364/.498 with 13 home runs and 27 stolen bases in 455 plate appearances. The plate discipline and stolen base potential are for real, but the 13 home runs may be a bit inflated by playing in Salt Lake and the Pacific Coast League in general.

There aren’t many stolen base threats likely available on your free agent wire, so Bourjos represents an opportunity to take a flier for that category if needed. While expectations for a .300-plus AVG with some power are probably a bit too high, anything can happen and the Angels should let him run when he gets on base.

According to an ESPN report, playing time shouldn’t be too much of an issue as the Angels fall further behiind the Rangers in the AL West.

They’re unlikely to promote Bourjos, 23, to be a bench player since it could stunt his development. “Every young player needs to play,” Scioscia said.

Every young player needs to play, eh Mike? Was that your take on Brandon Wood for the past three seasons?