In 2007, GM Ed Wade made a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies that sent closer Brad Lidge to the city of Brotherly Love for a number of prospects. At the timemany people, myself included, was wondering what was Wade was thinking and many believed the Astros were on the losing end of that trade.
Fast forward three years, and Michael Bourn is doing a great job of making Astros fans forget about Brad Lidge and making the trade look better and better each year. Entering 2011, Bourn is looking to get his name in the debate for best center fielder in the majors.
Since coming to the Astros, Michael Bourn has shown that he has unbelievable speed on the basepath. He has lead all CFs in steals the last two years and had 10 more than any other CF this past season. He finished in the Top 10 for runs scored by CFs which is impressive considering the Astros offense was so anemic last season. However, one area he will need to improve on in 2011 is his batting average, where he only hit .265 this past season. He has shown he can hit for a good average back in 2009 when he hit .285 and will need to get back into this range in 2011 to be considered the best at his position.
Michael Bourn has been decent at the plate and great on the base paths but the place he makes a difference and is able to be in this discussion is his play in the field. Michael Bourn finished seventh among CFs in fielding percentage at .992. He also finished tied for sixth in fewest errors committed at 3 as well as assists with 8. These are pretty impressive statistics considering Bourn has to regularly deal with Tal’s Hill as well as the flag pole out there.
So is Michael Bourn the best CF in the majors right now? Well Bourn has won a few awards, winning Gold Gloves the last two years, and was a National League All-Star last year. Right now my Top 5 players at the position include, in no paticular order: Michael Bourn, Matt Kemp, Andrew McCutchen, Austin Jackson, and Adam Jones. He is arguably the top defensive center fielder right now but will need to improve his batting average at the plate in 2011 to claim that overall top spot.