Hunter Pence isn’t the only outfielder that should draw a lot of attention this trade season, as center fielder Michael Bourn is also available for the right price. He has even being playing better than Pence over the past few days. After the jump I will be discussing what is value is and where he might end up.
Batting Average: .298
Home Runs: 1
Stolen Bases: 37 (leads MLB)
Michael Bourn has established himself as one of the better lead off hitters in major league baseball with his increased discipline at the plate. He has always had the speed and can steal bases at almost at will but he has become increasingly more dangerous by getting on base more often. He has been playing great the last week or so and is hitting an impressive .433 with five RBI in six games.
He leads the major leagues in steals with 37, seven more than second place, and stole two yesterday which were the first stolen bases since July 1st. He also has the highest stolen base percentage of his career at 88%, which goes to show he is getting smarter about when he is stealing bases and not getting caught as much.
What he brings to the table?
It used to be just one thing, speed, but he has really developed this year into more than a speedster. He has increased his plate discipline, becoming a good lead-off hitter and because of this his speed has become even more of a threat. He also plays pretty good defense and can run down almost any fly ball hit to center field. He probably will get better playing the field not having to deal with Tal’s Hill every home game. Like Pence, he is still fairly young, at 28 years of age and is just entering his prime. This is a big point that I hope Ed Wade harps on in trade negotiations.
Who might be interested?
Two teams come to mind immediately, the Altanta Braves and the San Francisco Giants. The Giants are supposedly pursuing Carlos Beltran but I think Bourn is the much better candidate. I think Beltran and Bourn will bring back the same prospects but Bourn is younger, plays better defense in center field, and is the lead off hitter the Giants need.
The Braves also need help in center field as Jordan Schafer just isn’t cutting it with a .236 batting average. Like I have said previously, the Braves have the pitching to go deep into the playoffs but need help at the plate and a lead off hitter could really help out Brian McCann, Jason Heyward and Chipper Jones.
At the end of the day, like with trading Pence, the Astros hold all the power in trade negotiations. Bourn is still young, is playing great ball, and could be a building block for the future. The Astros don’t need to trade him but should make him available.