Michael Bourn Player Projection No. 75

Key Stats: Michael Bourn has been one of the most consistent outfielders of the past three seasons and had been doing it under the radar – until last season that is. Heading into the 2011 season, Bourn was not ranked in the top 30 outfielders by ESPN, CBS, or Yahoo – despite being the only player to top 50 steals in both 2009 and 2010. Now Bourn is the only player in baseball that has 50 steals each of the last three years, and in fact he was the only player that topped 50 last season. 

Skeptics Say: Unfortunately the secret is out, and Bourn might be more of a reach based on where he’s going in the early going this season. Let’s remember that in 2010, he was ranked outside the top 100 overall, and that for all that his wheels will provide he lacks any production in two out of the major five categories. Spending a fifth round pick as Tristan Cockcroft and Mock Draft Central early drafters are doing in mixed leagues is a heavy price to pay in home runs and RBI early in a draft. 

Peer Comparison: NL and AL Only keeper leagues beware – base stealers will be on the move after the 2012 season. Bourn is one of five great base stealers who is set to become a free agent. Shane Victorino, Ichiro, B.J. Upton, and Angel Pagan are the others. Given that Bourn is still just going to be 30 years old when he hits the market, he would look good for some team in a 3-year contract, and although his game is more useful in the NL his defense (save for last year) makes him valuable anywhere. Whether it’s an auction league or a normal draft, his value might be hindered in keeper leagues with the possibility of him leaving. If all things are equal, I would not hesitate to make a bid for Bourn as if the free agency was not an issue. The Braves should be good enough to contend all season which should lessen the liklihood of him being traded during the year. After the season even if you can’t keep him, you now have some cap room to add someone like Upton whom the Nationals have loved for-ev-er or Ichiro to replace Bourn. 

Lineup Outlook: Here is a look at what Bourn’s numbers would have been if he had stayed with the Astros for 162 games and a look at what his numbers would have been like if he was traded to Atlanta before the season and played 162 games:

Team

Runs

HR

RBI

SB

AVG

OBP

Astros

99

2

49

60

.303

.363

Braves

92

3

55

67

.278

.321

The stat that jumps out is the steal differential. Despite the fact that he was on base less in Atlanta, he was running more. The true “Bourn Identity” for OBP lies somewhere inbetween the player he was for the Braves and Astros last year according to the numbers from 2010 and 2009. That said, it wouldn’t be impossible at the rate he was running in his short stint with the Braves that a healthy Bourn could swipe 65 or even 70 bases next year. Health is always easier said than done, and since these numbers are based on 162 games, don’t bet on him going beyond 60.

What They’re Saying
: CBS Sportsline: #26 Outfielder; Tristan Cockcroft of ESPN.com: #21 Outfielder & #54 Overall; Mock Draft Central ADP: #16 Outfielder & #54 Overall; RotoChamp: #84 Overall 

Projection: The average will come down some as he had a career high BABIP last year and his numbers with the Braves also show that he cooled toward the end of the season. Still, Bourn could score 100 and steal 50. That’s worth a top 70 selection almost by itself.
95 R 2 HR 50 RBI 52 SB .284 AVG .340 OBP .690 OPS in 685 plate appearances