This is Bill James. We’re going to be examining Mr. James’ projections for most of the everyday Braves’ on the 2012 club. Today we’ll take a look at Michael Bourn. All projection data gathered from the fine folks at FanGraphs.
Bill James 2012 Michael Bourn Projection:
152 Games Played, 583 AB, 160 hits, 25 doubles, 6 triples, 3 HR, 87 runs, 40 RBI, 55 BB, 127 K, 50 SB, .274 AVG, .339/.353/.692
When you look at the numbers that Mr. James expects for Bourn in 2012, you see what a great year he had last year. Bourn was able to post 61 stolen bases and a .349/.386/.734 line of production. This is not a typical player you can value on that slash line because a player who steals as often as Bourn has over the course of his career routinely turns singles into doubles and doubles into triples (he also collects a fair amount of triples out of the box) without being caught stealing a lot.
It looks like on a whole, James expects Bourn’s running game to cut down slightly with 10 less stolen base attempts coming in 2012.
Bourn is entering his age 29 season and doesn’t have a body type that you would expect to age quickly. He could be effective into his mid-30′s in the way that Kenny Lofton was. Bourn is a really nice lead off man at the top of the Atlanta lineup and will have a season very similar to last barring an unforeseen injury or slump. Bourn was able to hit nearly .300 last year due to a career high .369 BABIP. That compares to a .329 he had the year before. James expects his BABIP to return closer to his career mark of .341 with a .347 BABIP in 2012. That explains the dip in average back to his relative norm of .274 projected by Mr. James.
All in all, Bill James says the Braves can expect age 29 Michael Bourn to be the same solid lead off guy with a bunch of steals that he’s always been.