Re-Examing Michael Bourn: He’s Still Overrated For 2010

I can admit when I under evaluate a player, which I did do with Michael Bourn.  Last season was the first time he had played regularly, so I projected him out to too few at bats, which played a huge role in his projected value.  However, even when I upgrade him, I just don’t see him as a Top 80 player overall, where he has routinely been drafted this year.

Look at his numbers from last season:

606 At Bats
.285 Batting Average (173 Hits)
3 Home Runs
35 RBI
97 Runs
61 Stolen Bases
.354 On Base Percentage
.384 Slugging Percentage
.366 Batting Average on Balls in Play

Honestly, I don’t care how fast he is, I just cannot go into the season expecting him to be able to replicate a .366 BABIP.  My current projection has him at a .333 mark for 2010, a very reasonable number, which would give him an average of .265.

Why?  Because he’s a leadoff hitter who strikes out a ton.  Look at the past two seasons:

  • 2008 – 23.8%
  • 2009 – 23.1%

Look at his splits between the first and second halves last season:

  • First Half – 21.7%
  • Second Half – 24.8%

What is there that would make us think that anything is going to change?  With little power and less luck, the average is not going to be extremely impressive.  It could just as easily be below my projected number as above it, which, for a speed option, is very worrisome.

Before you argue about his runs scored being close to 100, the decline in average is going to have a big impact on that as well.  It’s not like he walks a significant amount, meaning his opportunity to score runs is going to be tied closely to his average.  A decline in average is going to mean fewer times on base, leading to fewer runs scored.  There’s concern number two.

Now, can we honestly expect anyone to be able to replicate 61 stolen bases in a season?  Since 2000 there have been just 12 seasons of 60+ stolen bases.  Nine different players performed those 12 seasons.  In other words, in the past ten seasons, there have been just two players to have multiple 60+ stolen base season:

  • Jose Reyes (2005, 2006 & 2007)
  • Juan Pierre (2003 & 2007)

To enter 2010 thinking it is a given that Bourn is going to steal 60+ bases is a huge mistake.  Considering he barely reached the mark last season, there’s an extremely good chance he falls short in 2010.

So, we have a decrease in average, a decrease in runs and a decrease in speed.  What exactly is making him a player routinely selected in the Top 80?  What makes him so much different than Nyjer Morgan (ADP around 131), Julio Borbon (ADP around 199) and Juan Pierre (ADP around 229)?

Those three players have the potential to have just as many stolen bases as Bourn, while actually hitting for a better average.  All three of those players are all but assured to be hitting atop their respective lineups (outside of maybe Borbon).  All three of those players have the chance to score as many, if not more runs, thanks to being in better lineups.

Let’s take a look at my updated projection for Bourn in ’10:

.265 (146-550), 5 HR, 35 RBI, 90 R, 51 SB, .333 BABIP, .327 OBP, .373 SLG

That’s a fine line and the speed is nice, but there’s no way I’m using a pick in the first seven rounds to get it, not when I have the opportunity to get a similar player five or more rounds later.  I know the 61 SB season makes him seem appealing, but he just doesn’t bring enough else to the table.

If others want to draft him so highly, by all means.  I’ll be sitting back and waiting, grabbing a player who is similar 60+ picks later.

What are your thoughts on Bourn?  Is he a player deserving of his current ADP?  Is he someone you are looking to draft?

If you would like to see a free preview of the Rotoprofessor 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide (available for just $5), click here.

Make sure to check out some of our 2010 projections, including:

Picture courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

2 comments

  1. Dave says:

    I play in a 14 team league, which is entirely different than a 12 team league when it comes to 2 things, saves & steals. There are just not enough of them to go around. I understand what you are saying about Bourn (& Morgan, Pierre, Borbon, Andrus,) that they are just 1 trick ponies – steals. I can guarantee you that all of these guys will be gone before pick #130, because you have to “Reach” to get any of these guys because they will not fall to you. There are probably only a dozen or so of them around that will get you 35 or more SB and if you don’t get one of them, you will be in the cellar in the SB department. So there is a premium on saves and SB in a larger league, and once any one of them is picked that always seems to start a run on them, and if you pass on a steals guy because there are 4-5 of them left, by the time your next pick rolls around, they will all be gone.

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