Let me get one thing straight- I have a major league mancrush on Drew Stubbs. It happens. Like my infatuation with Dexter Fowler or Dave’s fascination with Jerome Williams, it’s just a bit of guy love between two guys… (count it, Scrubs reference). Stubbs came up a nifty prospect, nothing to break down doors about, but thought to be a useful guy. He produced 8 homers and 10 steals in only 196 plate appearances in his call up in 2009 before becoming a late round GEM in 2010, banging out 22 homers and stealing 30 bases in 584 PA. A legitimate 30-30 threat, Stubbs was grabbed in many a later round draft time in 2010. So in looking forward to 2011, I’m investigating what guys you’ve probably heard of, be it a semi-touted prospect, a down-on-his-luck flameout (still holding a candle for Alex Gordon, anyone?), or a player who has produced in a small sample are capable of producing in multiple categories for very little cash (in auctions) or may not be drafted (in other formats). That sentence could probably use a good edit but alas, I am lazy. The point is, here is a guy who will, like Stubbs, provide a cheap power/speed combo in 2011:
Let me explain an admittedly crazy notion I believe in when it comes to baseball – I firmly believe that guys with silly names or good baseball names will always come through for you, even if just for a flash in the pan. Daniel Nava, Darnell McDonald, Jack Cust, Scott Shields, and yes, Alex Gordon (please? just be good man) are all examples of guys who are not superstars or even stars but who get the job done when you wouldn’t necessarily expect it. This idea is sometimes discussed and I know Bill Simmons has a theory about names and NFL quarterbacks, so I’m not totally crazy. No I’m not. Rant over, on to Bourjos who, obviously, has a pretty sweet name. In a cup of coffee with the Angels last year, coupled with a strong AAA performance, Bourjos put up some intriguing power/speed numbers. In 455 AAA plate appearances, Bourjos knocked 13 homers, slapped 14 doubles, and legged out 12 triples. Those numbers simply delight me (I love players like that). That come out to an XBH every 11.67 times he stepped up (approximately a triple every 38 PA…). In addition to his good pop, he stole 27 bases (and only got caught 5 times). These are numbers that indicate a very useful fantasy player. Aside from a very poor BA, somewhat as a result of a poor BABIP, somewhat due to a poor K rate, Bourjos slapped his way to 6 doubles, 4 triples, and 6 homers in 193 PA (an XBH every 12.06 PA). By comparison, Stubbs hit for an XBH every 12.4 PA in 2010 (and once every 14 PA in his similar cup of coffee in 2009). I submit to you that Peter Bourjos and Drew Stubbs are more similar than different. Sure Stubbs has better power and Bourjos is a premier defender, the point is both can smack the ball around and steal some bases for you all. Extra base hits + 30 steal potential is an equation for a draftable player.
Bill James historically does not give much in determining projections for players like Bourjos who may or may not get extended playing time. However, given the appropriate AB’s, Fleet Pete (coining that) will succeed, says I. Even having said that, given James’ projections the master predictor has Bourjos hitting an XBH every 14.79 PA and stealing 19 bases in 281 PA, leading me to believe that at the very least, everyone agrees on Bourjos’ skill set.
We shall see, but Bourjos is going on my watch list. Keep an eye on him this Spring if for no other reason than he is a web gem waiting to happen.