2013 Angels in Review: Peter Bourjos
Hello class. I need any and all students who are fans of Peter Bourjos to please raise your hand.
/Looks around classroom sheepishly
I can’t be the only one, right? I know fellow Halo Hangout writer, Virginia, is a fan of Fleet Pete. And although most of you didn’t raise your hand with me, I understand why. Bourjos has morphed – unfairly – into a polarizing figure among Angels fans. He’s no longer the historically good defensive outfielder that he should be seen as. He is now the player that moved Mike Trout from center field to left field. Baseball and it’s fans can be so cruel.
As annoyed as most fans were to see Bourjos manning center and being in the lineup everyday, his 2013 season was shaping up to be one where he lived up to his promise. That promise being that he was an exceptional defender with an average to slightly above-average bat. Call me crazy, but I’ll take that seven days a week.
But that promise got interrupted twice this season, and it got cut short thanks to injuries.
On April 29th, Peter pulled his right hamstring running to first base. At the time, he was hitting a healthy .313/.370/.458, and had been inserted into the leadoff spot ahead of
Mike Trout. He would be out of the lineup until June 10th. Upon being reinserted into the lineup, Bourjos picked up right where he left off. By June 20th, he was hitting .336/.385/.471, and was once again a stabilizer at the top of the lineup.
On June 29th, Bourjos was hitting .333/.392/.457, and in a game against the Houston Astros, he got hit on the left wrist.
The next day, it was released that Bourjos’ wrist was broken. Sending him back to the disabled list for the second time last season. He returned on August 16th, but with a still fractured wrist. And on September 3rd, he was shut down for the season so he could have surgery to repair the broken bone. The two injuries limited Peter to 55 games, and he ended the season with a .274/.333/.377 slash line. Hardly the line of production that merits him moving Mike Trout out of his natural position.
It was not the season that I had hoped for for Bourjos, at least not as a whole and finished product. But, the production that he consistently displayed until he came back too soon from his wrist injury, was everything and more than I had wished for. He stopped trying to be a power hitter, and let his speed do most of the work. He posted his best GB/FB ratio of his career at 1.47, and had a line drive rate of 16%. Minus the still weak walk rate (5.5% this season), Bourjos was exactly what you would want from a leadoff hitter.
2013 was a year when baseball raised its cruel hand and struck down Peter Bourjos. He proved to his already-in-love fan that he is everything he was supposed to be. He is arbitration eligible for the first time this offseason, and is projected to get a salary of $1.1MM. He is also once again on the trading block.
I wouldn’t trade Bourjos. I wouldn’t even think about it. I would put him back at the top of the lineup next season, back in center field, and let him do what he did last year when he was at his best. Spray line drives, and use his speed to get on base in front of baseball’s best player. Yeah, I’m a drooling idiot for stupid-fast center fielders with good contact skills. So what? Peter Bourjos is the kind of player that you don’t trade. He is an impact player, it’s just that his biggest impact (defense) isn’t a sexy one. Don’t let one freak injury season allow him to be the “player that got away,” Angels. Don’t let that happen.