2018 Projection: Will Justin Bour Be Able To Replicate His 2017 Success?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Marlins’ Justin Bour was among the bigger “breakouts” a year ago, putting his power potential on display and complimenting it with a strong average:

377 At Bats
.289 Batting Average (109 Hits)
25 Home Runs
83 RBI
52 Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.366 On Base Percentage
.536 Slugging Percentage
.322 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Obviously there are questions about his supporting cast, after the Marlins traded away a lot of their top players in the offseason, and consistent injury issues further cloud his overall outlook (he’s never had more than 409 AB in the Majors).  Assuming he’s healthy what can we expect from him?

 

Power
While a 26.0% HR/FB may seem a little bit bloated, it’s not that far above his previous two seasons (21.5% and 19.2%).  At 29-years old adding a little bit of power isn’t a stretch and he was consistent last season, when he was healthy:

  • First Half – 26.7%
  • Second Half – 23.8%

Even if he “regresses” back to his previous seasons, he was averaging a home run every 18.1 AB.  If he could stay healthy for a 600 AB season, that prorates out to a 33 HR campaign.  The power is for real.

 

Average
Bour is a career .280 hitter against right-handed pitchers, with a 19.2% strikeout rate and .300 BABIP.  There has never been a question in that regard, instead it was whether or not he’d be able to produce enough against southpaws to be more than a platoon player and keep his overall numbers strong.  Last season he did that, hitting .253 against LHP, though the underlying marks are concerning:

Statistic
vs. RHP
vs. LHP
Strikeout Rate19.6%29.6%
Hard%42.3%25.4%
Line Drive Rate25.1%15.3%
Groundball Rate40.1%55.9%

While he should still be able to hit .260ish overall, the numbers make it clear that he could ultimately sit against tougher left-handed pitchers (or maybe most of them).  Don’t overlook that.

 

Supporting Cast
Granted the newest imports aren’t going to match Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Marcell Ozuna and Dee Gordon, but Bour isn’t going to be the only productive player in Miami.  J.T. Realmuto is among the best catchers in the league, Starlin Castro offers a solid veteran presence and Lewis Brinson is one of the brightest young players in the game.  As long as Bour is healthy he should continue to have the ability to contribute both RBI and R.

 

2018 Projection
.272 (143-525), 30 HR, 90 RBI, 75 R, 1 SB, .316 BABIP, .357 OBP, .499 SLG

 

Conclusion
Bour isn’t going to be an elite first baseman, but he’s a viable one and a strong play as a corner infielder.  He’s also a viable starter, especially for those in deeper formats.  There is risk that he falls into a platoon or misses time once again, but the upside is too high to ignore.  While others may be looking for a reason to overlook him, don’t make that mistake.

Source – Fangraphs

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Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Preseason Rankings:

Position
Standard League
OBP League
Catchers03/14/1802/02/18
First Basemen01/08/1802/09/18
Second Basemen01/15/1802/13/18
Shortstops03/21/1802/27/18
Third Basemen03/09/1803/06/18
Outfielders1-20: 03/18/18

21-40: 03/19/18
1-20: 03/12/18

21-40:
Starting Pitchers1-20: 03/24/18

21-40: 03/24/18
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Relief Pitchers02/12/18--

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