11/12/07: Bourn Again, Past And Future

Michael Bourn is slated to be the Astros starting center fielder in April, 2008.
Let’s take a look at his offensive production:

First, in the minors, ignoring A ball (65% of his games were in AA) from thebaseballcube.com:
05 AA: .268/.348/.364/.712 – 146/544 with 18 2B, 8 3B, 6HR, 63BB, 123K, 38/12 SB/CS, 80 RS in 135 games
06 AA: .274/.350/374/.715 – 87/318 with 6 2B, 5 3B, 4HR, 36BB, 67K, 30/4 SB/CS, 62 RS over 80 games
06 AAA: .276/.362/.421/.783 – 42/152 with 5 2B, 7 3B, 1 HR, 20BB, 33 K, 15/1 SB/CS, 34 RS over 38 games.
– these numbers are not league adjusted and Reading AA is a hitter’s park with a park factor of 1.04.

So, in 253 games he had 275/1014 – 1141 PA, with 29 doubles, 20 triples, 11 HR, 119BB, 223K, 83/17 SB/CS with 176 RS over 253 games.

Normalized to a 162 game season, I get .271/.345/.378/.723 – 1141 PA, with 19 doubles, 13 triples, 7 HR, 76 BB, 143K, 53/11 SB/CS with 113 RS.

Again, most of these numbers are from AA – he had only 172 PA at AAA in his career. It is very unusual for a ballplayer to consistently hit better in the majors than he did at AA – it’s possible, but unusual, both because the pitchers in the majors are significantly better and the fielders are significantly better as well.

In the major leagues, he’s had 144 PA, 133 in 07 and 11 in 06 over 122 total games. In order to more accurately look at the offense he generated from a plate appearance, I’ve reviewed every game in which he appeared last year (ignoring 06 in which he had only 17 PA) to eliminate his stolen base and runs scored from pinch running appearances.

He appeared in 105 games total last year, was strictly a defensive replacement in 15, was strictly a pinch runner in 8, in which he stole 3 bases and scored 1 run, and a PR/DR in 8 more in which he stole 2 bases and scored 2 runs. Therefore, he had actual plate appearances in 74 games, and he started 13 of those.

So he had 119 AB/133 PA, with 33 hits, 3 doubles, 3 triples, 13 BB, 21 K, 13 SB, 1 CS and 26 RS for a line of .277/.348/.378/.727 over 74 games.

So predictions are being made based on 969 PA at AA, 172 PA at AAA and 144 PA in the majors. Not much to go on, really, is it. He is 25, and I do think that it is safe to say that it is doubtful that Bourn will hit a lot of home runs, short RF porch notwithstanding and I also doubt that he will GIDP very often. I find it difficult to believe that he will hit better than he did in the minors, or will be walked as often, as he has essentially doubles power and he won’t be pitched around. Also, unlike Willy Taveras, Michael doesn’t bunt for a significant percentage of his hits.

Now, if the questions is asked – how will his production compare to Luke Scott’s?

Well, Luke had an .855 OPS with a .504 SLG over 132 games and 369 AB. He created 13 runs in approximately half the AB he should have had if he had played full time, and 25 of those games/PA were pinch hit appearances and Luke is a terrible pinch hitter.

Michael Bourn created 1 RCAA in those 74 games/133 PA, so if he hit exactly the same, would be expected to create 6 runs above average playing every day. Not exactly Luke.

As for fielding, well, Michael played only 56 innings in center and I can’t judge him from that. I hear tell from all the Philly fans that he’s really good, so I hope they are right. However, Luke isn’t exactly a bad glove – according to thehardballtimes.com, of NL RF who have played at least 500 innings in right, his RZR is .918, tied with Ethier for the best, and he had 8 assists and only 3 errors (one of which should have been assigned to the fielder who didn’t make the easy play he should have – I think it was Lamb at third.)

And Pence was decent in center with a RZR of .885, actually better than Willy.

Again, I think it is very VERY hard to predict what Bourn will do with the bat because there is so little on which to base a prediction, other than to say he’s not going to hit many homers. I must say I have no idea why any prediction system is convinced that he will outperform his AA stats.

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23 Responses to “11/12/07: Bourn Again, Past And Future”

  1. Joel B. says:

    “I must say I have no idea why any prediction system is convinced that he will outperform his AA stats.”
    Because some systems are created by me and I’m an optimize.
    The Astros desperately needed a leadoff hitter. The only thing Bourn needs to concentrate on is maintaining (hopefully improving) his obp.
    You don’t like what do numbers say about his chances to do that, I’m hoping Wade isn’t dumb. Although I think there is still a chances he flips him.

  2. Joel B. says:

    yea i’m an optimize (stupid spell check) optimist
    and i just finished catching up on the last blog entry. looks like i just jumped into the fire pitt with out looking.

  3. lisa gray says:

    i know you are an optimist and i like how you are the sunshine to my cloud.
    and i sure nuff know that the most important word to remember when talking about baseball players and baseball is

  4. Kris says:

    Oops posted to wrong date
    Yes Luke DOES have good ratings in RF, too bad many people seem to believe – or perceive – just the opposite (thanks in large part to the spin from the FO)
    Luke is playing RF (& LF) in Venezuela, saw that he was 3-4 & 2-4 in games on Fri & Sat
    His BA is still not high at .242, after a slow start, but he continues to put up the power numbers in 18 games for the Magallanes so far:
    11 R 4 2B 3 HR 12 RBI 12 BB .382 OBP .452 SLG and a .833 OPS
    Luke’s tied for 1st in R, 2nd in XBH, 2nd in RBIs 2nd in TB
    Amazing how a player can produce like he DID this season – and last – and still be without a starting position today ??
    He’s playing in VZ while his teammates are home watching ESPN
    Just Boggles the mind that Wade traded Lidge for 3 UNproven commodities – that’s all this trade amounts to. Then to legitimize it all, they RUSH to anoint Bourn as the NEW CF while relegating Scott to the trash heap
    We really hope Luke DOES get traded now, he’s too talented to sit on the pine waiting to PH

  5. Steve Schramm says:

    It’s clear that the Organization does not think that Luke can stay injury free and healthy so that he’s in 150-160 games per year — they just don’t think he will hold up.
    They can see the numbers just as we can, and I’m sure if they thought he was going to put up an .850 OPS for 160 games, they would leave the outfield as Lee-Pence-Scott. Clearly, they don’t.
    Are they right? Who the frickin hell knows? Maybe if they trade him, we’ll find out. And please note that the offseason just started. I’m certain that Wade considers almost everyone in play, including Scott, Pence and even Bourne. Probably Lee also if he could get everyone to agree to a trade.
    Let’s just see where we are in March.
    And then we’ll have to see how people perform, because that’s what really matters. Jennings and Williams didn’t seem nearly as bad as they turned out to be. Lidge stunk. Lance stunk it up early and then hit when it was too late. Pence did well and then took himself out with a stupid injury right when we had to make a run. Lee took out our best defensive player, forcing role players like Loretta and Bruntlett to play too much (and stink). Backe was out almost all year recovering. Sheesh, a lot of things went wrong last season. I’ll bet not as many go wrong in 2008.

  6. Steve Schramm says:

    oh, yeah, it’s Bourn. Whatever.

  7. Lisa Gray says:

    well there had to be SOME reason that after the 2006 season that they wouldn’t give him the RF job – i mean seriously, what more could he have possibly done? and he hadn’t missed a game in several years at that time.
    at this point, i think they decided they were more interested in speed and defense than they were in slugging
    but you got a point. if you play chess there is more than 1 move, so i’ll have to see what else wade does before i come to a final conclusion

  8. Mark says:

    I think that the Lidge trade is just more evidence that Astros management is clueless…just a continuation of the Purpura era. Wade is following the pattern of a lot of GMs in wanting to trade with their former teams, and Tal Smith’s thinking is quite simply outdated.
    Basing your entire team on pitching and defense is fine if you’re playing in the Astrodome. You have to build your team to fit the park that you have, and trying to win games 1-0 at MMP is just plain dumb.
    Bourn will probably play good defense, and his speed will probably help him leg out some infield hits, but other than that, he’s an unknown quantity. He hasn’t really shown enough to be penciled in as a starter, but neither had Burke when he was annointed as the CF.
    The bottom line is that Lidge needed a trade of scenery. What the Astros didn’t need is another outfielder who has yet to prove himself at the major league level and a middle reliever who isn’t any better than the middle relievers that the Astros already have.
    While Wade and Smith flail around trying to keep the fans interested, the Astros infield with Fat Boy Wigginton, No-hit Everett, and AAAA Burke is among the worst in the league. Beyond Oswalt, Backe, and Sampson (if healthy) the rotation isn’t good enough to even contend.
    I’ve been going to Astros games since 1965, and I’ve never been as disgusted with management as I am right now. I’m closer to being a former Astros fan than I’ve ever been.

  9. tangotiger says:

    You guys thought Luke Scott was an average RF:
    And Phillies fans think that Bourn was one of the best in the game with his glove:
    There is about a 20-run gap in their fielding, according to the fans, which is enormous.
    And no Tim Raines in your list? You wouldn’t thought that if he were an Astro!

  10. Steve Schramm says:

    Oh, c’mon, if you’ve really been a fan since ’65, Spec Richardson is seared into your brain, you hate Spec, Spec is an idiot, you threw your Houston Post sports section against the wall multiple times during Spec, and you know he will always be one of the worst GMs ever. There is no possible way you could be more disgusted now.

  11. Broocks says:

    “like a large jungle cat.” – quite the quote, and Kevin Bass is pretty damn hot.

  12. JDolla$ says:

    Any of these guys make you excited? This is the list of players the Astros reportedly will make offers for in free agency land this winter:
    Jeremy Affeldt (ok)
    Luis Castillo (why?)
    Francisco Cordero (NOOOO!!!!)
    Tom Glavine (geezer)
    Tadahito Iguchi (why?)
    Jason Jennings (WTF?)
    Troy Percival (geezer with self-destructing arm)
    Jon Lieber (soft-tossing geezer)
    Scott Linebrink (YESSS!!!!!!)
    Kaz Matsui (why?)
    Dontrelle Willis (he’s not a free agent, is he?)
    Randy Wolf (pass)
    Okay – that’s my vote – out of that list I’d say bring in 2 relievers – Affeldt and Linebrink. That would shore things up back there a bit, I guess.

  13. Lisa Gray says:

    i probably would have appreciated tim raines sr if i had ever seen him actually play – i might could have maybe a few times. montreal has that effect.
    but it not that i don’t appreciate his excellence. i do and i think he belongs in the Hall.
    also, his hotness factor is, um, right around Da Roger’s. there are certain things us grrls notice you know what i’m sayin

  14. Lisa Gray says:

    jdollas, i’ll throw in my 2 cents –
    Jeremy Affeldt (ok) – i suppose we need a LOOGY and mclemore is fine against both leftys and rightys
    Luis Castillo (why?) – because he plays second and will cost a lot. he’s like willy – hardly hitws the ball out of the infield, and he’s had a back back/legs whatever for the past few years. besides, the mets want him
    Francisco Cordero (NOOOO!!!!) – hey, lets throw 40-60 mill at a reliever we’ll have to keep for a GOOD 4 years
    Tom Glavine (geezer) – he really SHOULD retire and anyhow, truth is he wants to go back to atlanta. he pitched lousy in shea and that’s a pitchers’ park…
    Tadahito Iguchi (why?) – because he plays second and he’s alive. and IF he’s a FA he MUST be better than burke.
    Jason Jennings (WTF?) – they must think they can get him for cheap. they must be kidding.
    Troy Percival (geezer with self-destructing arm) – depends how much he wants
    Jon Lieber (soft-tossing geezer) -uck. it’s the ex-philly factor. this is starting to remind me of phil and his ex-tiger thing
    Scott Linebrink (YESSS!!!!!!) – well, this is a guy who will get MORE than romero. and he wasn’t even particularly good last year. are you SURE you want him? i’m not into giviing huge contracts to middle relievers
    Kaz Matsui (why?) – because he plays second, steals bases and has a good glove. better than iguchi or castillo, that’s fer SHER. not saying that he’s this great hitter or something, mind.
    Dontrelle Willis (he

  15. Daniel says:

    Out of the list of FA, Iguchi and Matsui intrigue me. Matsui, I believe, is the mix of Iguchi and Castillo. Not as much pop as Iguchi (not that Iguchi has that much), and not as good of a baserunner as Castillo, but good at both. Obviously, he tanked in NYC, but did good in his time in Colorado (but that’s Colorado, we know how the last big name Colorado guy we got turned out?!?!). Iguchi is a good power hitter for a 2B, and is pretty good with the glove I think. BTW, Castillo is not too bad. He is a career .294 hitter, and definetely can hit the ball out of the infield with more regularity than Willy.

  16. Lisa Gray says:

    to quote keith law on castillo
    “Castillo is a mediocre leadoff option whose days of providing strong defense and baserunning value are largely behind him. At the plate, he has an inside-out slapping swing that produces a lot of contact but zero power; he goes for infield hits, bunting for hits often, and will draw a handful of walks along the way. His bat speed isn’t great and he can’t catch up to harder stuff, trying to shoot it the other way to compensate. He’s a slightly above-average runner but isn’t a great base stealer, and his range at second base is below average, although he’s strong on the double play.
    When his speed goes completely, he’ll be a replacement-level player. Because of this, a long-term commitment to Castillo would be insanity. Two years would be the limit of reason, and he’s a much better fit for a team that has a .380-400 OBP guy to lead off so it could bat Castillo eighth or ninth rather than succumbing to the temptation to put the formerly fast guy in the leadoff spot.”
    we ALREADY have adam everett in the 8th spot, and every 5th game, we’ll have ausmus back there too…

  17. Daniel says:

    Castillo’s not the player he once was, but its a little much to campare him to Adam Everett when it comes to hitting. Give the guy some credit. As I said though., Iguch and Matsui are much more appealing options in the FA 2B market.

  18. Lisa Gray says:

    no, what i meant was that law says castillo should be a #8 hitter. i said we already HAVE a #8 hitter and we will have two #8 hitters on the day brad ausmus catches and we can’t handle three #8 hitters on the same club.

  19. Mark says:

    Everything you wrote is true.
    You’re right. I’ll always think that Spec was the worst, by Purpura would probably have been as bad as Spec if he had been able to hang around long enough. And yeah, I used to read the Post every day. Morris Frank, an old sports writer for the Post, was a family friend.
    I’m with you on the free agents you list. I can’t see throwing a bunch of money at anyone when the market is as thin as it is. Every year is different, but this isn’t a good year to be trying to build your team through free agents.
    I like Linebrink. I was at the last game he pitched for the Astros. He didn’t pitch all that well that day, but I was shocked when they DFA’d him. I still can’t see spending a bunch of money on him.

  20. Kris says:

    So, they are going after Castillo who has back & leg problems / age, and they are looking at Wolf who’s had recurring health problems over recent seasons BUT he’s Wade’s guy and likewise Lieber another Philly connection
    But then Luke Scott is referred to as an injury concern / risk as a starter
    Yeah right … NO double standard there yadayadayada

  21. lisa gray says:

    yeh i remember being absolutely stunned when they DFAd linebrink. BAD mistake
    but it would be just as bad a mistake to give him the 3 year 5 mill a year deal that he will rpobably get.
    it would be just as good to use one of our surplus #5 starters.
    couldn’t have said it better my own slef.

  22. Joel B. says:

    about Willis
    “cheap young players who are GOOD”
    we got 2 of the three if they meet us half way…. we got cheap and young guys.