Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Incredible Mr. Bourn

13 for 13
Last time I had a blog for any significant length of time, the Astros centerfielder was a speed demon named Willy Taveras, who ended up with 34 stolen bases. Taveras is the only Astros this decade (!!!) to steal 30 bases. Michael Bourn is almost halfway there and he's still got a week to go in APRIL!

Okay, so I don't think Bourn is as fast as Taveras, even though Bourn stole a base on a freakin' pitch out against Colorado Sunday. The thing that separates the two is Bourn's baserunning instincts. Taveras still got thrown out 25% of the time...a great rate, but not anywhere close to Bourn's 1 CS in 31 attempts over the past two seasons.

To put his April in perspective, Bourn is currently on pace to steal 91 bases. If he averages 9 steals per month for the rest of the season, he should easily finish with 50, possibly 60 steals. The Astros franchise record is 65 by Gerald Young in 1988. Last year's team steals leader was Mr. Hunter Pence with 11.

Bourn has been criticized a little so far for not being a good leadoff hitter, slumping some. Right now, he's on pace for 71 walks, which is just 45 more than Pence had last season...leadoff hitters do need to take a pitch now and again. While Bourn strikes out some, (on pace for 114) I think that rate falls once he gets used to playing every day and starts getting more base hits.

I will concede that he's only got 84 plate appearances, and projecting him across 600 PAs is a stretch. Still, you HAVE to be excited about this kid.

13 for 13.

Just WOW.

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