December 18, 2012

It needs to be said...

I firmly believe the Angels are a better team with Peter Bourjos on the field.  So, I’m sure you can imagine that as the rumors surrounding the possibility of trading Bourjos circulate, I feel like standing on top of the 'Big A' and shouting “NOOOOOOO!” 

When most people look at Bourjos, they see a guy with “game-changing” speed, a great glove and not much more.  When I think of Bourjos, I think of Jacoby Ellsbury.  That’s right – Jacoby Ellsbury.

Both players are 6’ 1” and Bourjos weighs just ten pounds less (175 lbs.).  Bourjos happens to be four years younger than Ellsbury and in my mind – could be the same kind of player.  Ellsbury made his major league debut when he was 23; as did Bourjos.   In 2011 at 24 years of age, Bourjos gave us a glimpse of what he could become.

That year he hit .270 with 12 homeruns, 11 triples, 22 stolen bases, with a respectable 4.8 WAR.  That 4.8 WAR is better than 5 of the 6 seasons Ellsbury has had in the big leagues.  And when you consider Ellsbury didn’t have his break out season until he was 27 years old, it gives us reason for optimism.

Given the playing time and appropriate number of at-bats, Peter Bourjos could be a star in this league.  Is that a reach?   I don’t think so.  Maybe he won’t hit 32 homeruns like Ellsbury did in 2011, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he hit more than 20.  If you’ve ever seen Bourjos in person, one of the things you might notice is how muscular his forearms are.  Okay, I know that probably sounds strange, but I remember the first time I noticed because it really surprised me.  He’s not some skinny kid with a lot of speed.  He’s an athlete who was made to play baseball.

Look, I know that I’m the last person in the world who should try to play talent evaluator and I have no idea how to break down a player’s swing, but I have seen Bourjos do things on a field that help his team win ball games.  His background as the son of coach and as a player who had made adjustments at every stop in his baseball career, suggest to me that he could be something special.

We already know what he can do on defense and on the base paths and I think it’s time to see what he can do with 500-600 at bats as well.  The upside is too great to pass up.  I believe in Bourjos’ bat and I’m basing that on what he was able to do in 2011.  In three of the months of that year (April, June and August) he hit over .300; in fact he had an OBP of .340, .365, and .367 in those months as well.  Those numbers are good enough for me to believe there’s a lot of potential there.

There’s no question that an outfield that has both Trout and Bourjos in it would be among the best in baseball.    Factor in Josh Hamilton, who is no slouch as a defender and you have a group of players that will help the Angels pitching staff sleep better at night.

I know the Angels will most likely make a move to add pitching depth and that will come at the expense of one of their players.  Given the choice – I would rather see the Angels move 29 year old Kendrys Morales and keep Bourjos (and Mark Trumbo for that matter). 

Which lineup would you prefer; a line up with Trumbo as DH and Bourjos in CF or a lineup with Trumbo in LF and Morales at DH (take the poll on the right)?  Given the choice, I’ll take the one with Bourjos for the better all-around lineup. I understand that Morales helps balance the lineup as a switch-hitter, but he's going to walk next year and Bourjos just makes the team better as a whole, in my opinion.

It needs to be said; Keep Peter Bourjos!  Angel fans have already had to watch fan favorite, Torii Hunter go to another team; don't add insult to injury by trading Bourjos as well.  

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