Monday, December 29, 2008

What the heck happened, Michael Bourn?

Prized prospect. Center fielder of the future. Dangerous speed, above-average power. Well, at least he has the speed part in the bag.

What the heck happened? He was the center-piece in the Lidge deal - which, I've said it before and I'll say it again - there's no way Lidge does what he did in '08 in Houston.

Let's take a look at Michael Bourn...

Some surface level stats:
.242 against righties. .190 against lefties. / .249 at home. .210 on the road.
.190 during the day.

April - .195 / May - .214 / June - .274 / July - .261 / August - .137 / September - .274

Three teams he drilled: The Yankees (.455), the Cubs (.333), the Pirates (.354).
Three teams he crapped the bed against: The Giants (0-for-21), the Dodgers (.129), the Nationals (.118).

Hits .346 on the first pitch, .333 at 0-1. When behind in the count (0-1, 0-2, 1-2), Bourn hit .204 (32-for-157). So the key is to not swing at bad pitches, right? That's stupid advice, because everybody has that goal.

Let's take a look at his opposition. We'll consider pitchers he faced in 5+ at-bats.

Chicago Cubs:
Carlos Zambrano, 1x7; Ryan Dempster, 2x6

Cincinnati Reds:
Bronson Arroyo, 1x6; Johnny Cueto, 3x5

Colorado Rockies:
Aaron Cook, 0x7; Ubaldo Jimenez, 0x5

Florida Marlins:
Ricky Nolasco, 0x6

LA Dodgers:
Chad Billingsley, 1x7; Hiroki Kuroda, 0x6

Milwaukee Brewers:
Manny Parra, 2x8; Dave Bush, 2x5

NY Mets:
John Maine, 2x6

Philadelphia Phillies:
Adam Eaton, 2x7; Brett Myers, 2x6; Kyle Kendrick, 4x6

Pittsburgh Pirates:
Ian Snell, 4x10; Ross Ohlendorf, 3x7; Tyler Yates, 1x5

San Francisco Giants:
Tim Lincecum, 0x5

St. Louis Cardinals:
Adam Wainwright, 2x9; Kyle Lohse, 0x8; Brad Thompson, 0x5

Bourn also has an interesting hitting zone, as well. He hits well up and outside, yet chases pitches inside (63%) and low (70%). So it's like Bourn doesn't really know his own strike zone. He pulls the ball, too - 41% of the balls in play go to right field.

Reason for hope (albeit wary hope - the most satisfying kind):

1. He showed a tremendous amount of improvement in the Dominican League this winter.

2. September was perhaps his strongest month of the season, meaning that April-August was a very steep learning curve. September featured Bourn's highest OBP and AVG (tied with June).

3. Really, 2009 can't get much worse, right?


Ty said...

Never been a fan of the Bourn trade. The Phils had obviously given up on him. Don't mind if the Stros do, either.

Anonymous said...

You can't teach speed..... then, again, you can't teach a Brad Lidge type slider either. I'm willing to give Bourne another year or two. He sure covers a lot of ground in CF. -Mike