Peter Bourjos' bat lags behind speed 

August, 31, 2010

Peter Bourjos of the Los Angeles Angels has gotten to the big leagues on the strength of his speed and defense. Now the question is how good his bat is going to be.

A 10th-round pick in the 2005 draft out of an Arizona high school, Bourjos is an athletic, 6-foot-1, 180-pounder who hit .314 with 27 steals in 32 attempts in the Pacific Coast League this year. In earning a big league summons, he also slugged .498 in a very favorable hitting environment, helped by hitting more than 10 triples for the third straight season to go with 13 homers in 414 at-bats.

Considering that even before Bourjos' first big league game the club asked Torii Hunter whether he would consider moving to right field to make room for the rookie in center, you get an idea of how good Bourjos' defense is. Although his arm is just average, he has fantastic range thanks to his speed and reads the ball off the bat exceptionally well, taking great routes. In short, he's a Gold Glove-caliber defender already.

That ability to run also makes him enticing for fantasy owners. He's always had plus-plus speed and good acceleration, but in the past he didn't really have an idea of how to pick his spots and didn't get good jumps, instead relying on raw speed. However, he's made good improvement in that regard during the past two seasons, and I expect him to continue to get better as he settles in and adapts at the major league level. He has the wheels to be a 40-steal threat in the majors in if he can get on base enough.