There's been a lot of debate over the season about two players spots on the roster, no I'm not talking about Vernon Wells, I'm talking about Peter Bourjos and Kendrys Morales. With Bourjos' breakout 2011 season it looked certain that he would be a key part going into the Angels future but with the emergence of Trout and Trumbo along with a glut of veteran-and highly paid-outfielders in the mix, Bourjos' spot has been turned into a 4th outfielder. To go along with his benched playing time, Bourjos has been thrown around in trade rumors almost as much as anybody in the league let alone the roster. Then there's Kendry (s) Morales the great comeback story who was supposed to solidify the DH spot and provide the left handed thump behind Pujols. Well let's just say Kendrys hasn't been anything near what he was in 2009 or 2010 for that matter. I decided to look deeper into the two players and where they stand on the roster.
Peter Bourjos is one of the most beloved players on the roster probably only below Trout, Trumbo, and Weaver and for good reason. Bourjos had a breakout season last year posting a slash line of .271/.327/.438 with 12 HR, 43 RBI, 72 R, and 22 SB, and if that wasn't enough played elite gold-glove caliber defense in centerfield. He accumulated a total WAR of 4.3 good for 40th in baseball by position players, that's not something to just overlook. No wonder Dipoto has been so reluctant to bring Bourjos up in trade rumors!
This year has been a different story for Fleet Pete, he's been held to 161 PA and a slash line of .232/.287/.345. But the bare and basic numbers don't tell Bourjos' whole story. After an abysmal March/April in which he hit .167/.231/.250, Bourjos regrouped in May and posted a more Bourjos like slash line of .262/.319/.310 and caught on fire in June to post a .321/.344/.643. That's more like the Bourjos we all know and love! But those are not the numbers that caught my attention, I'm referring to his improvements at the plate and what his defense does for the Angels. Here are Bourjos' plate discipline numbers courtesy of fangraphs.com.
Season Team Swing% Contact% Zone% F-Strike% SwStr%
2010 Angels 44.8 % 80.1 % 52.5 % 63.2 % 8.5 %
2011 Angels 47.2 % 75.3 % 46.9 % 62.9 % 11.4 %
2012 Angels 41.9 % 80.6 % 46.4 % 67.7 % 7.9 %
Pretty self explanatory, Bourjos is swinging at 5.3% less pitches compared to last year all while increasing his contact rate by another 5.3%. His foul strike percentage also increased by 4.8% which leads to less swings and misses, going down by 3.5%. While they're not major improvements, his K% has gone from 22.5% to 21.7% and his BB rate has gone up .4% from 5.8%-6.2% but with all of these factors together they show from Bourjos' first full season to his sophomore season, he's making adjustments and improving his contact percentage. With an improving BB rate, his OBP of .327 (already above league average this season at .322) in 2011 should set the bar for Bourjos to where he can improve and become a lethal table setter at the bottom of the lineup for Trout. Bourjos on base with his speed + Trout at the top of lineup = a lot of run opportunities. Simple baseball math.
I don't need to tell you guys how valuable Bourjos is defensively and how many hits and runs he took away last year and this year so we'll move onto Morales now.
Morales recovery from his devastating injury is a great baseball story but let's be honest, he's been pretty awful to watch. K's, double plays, and singles seem to be the theme for him this year and just like with Ervin Santana my patience has grown thin to the point where I think the team should move on. Instead of looking at his MVP caliber season, I'm going to compare his 2010 and 2012 stats (keep in mind Kendrys has already played 17 more games than he did in 2010.)
PA HR R RBI BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG OPS
2010 211 11 29 39 5.7% 14.7% .197 .296 .290 .346 .487 .833
2012 296 9 31 35 5.7% 23.0% .139 .337 .277 .324 .416 .740
A few alarming things appear, in more plate appearances he has two less homeruns than in 2010, 4 less RBI, and his K% spiked significantly. His BABIP shows that he put up similar numbers in 2010 with less PA's and a lot less luck. His OBP took a good sized hit along with his SLG% which obviously leads to a declined OPS. Another thing to keep in mind is his injury occurred on May 29th so those numbers would've improved significantly to be All-Star worthy. As I'm typing this now, it's July 23th and his numbers are worse than his May numbers. With his numbers this year he's accumulated (I love that word) a WAR of 0.6, Peter Bourjos already has a WAR of 1.5 with 135 less PA than Kendrys. That alone shows how much more valuable P-Bo's defense is than Kendrys at DH.
This leads me to the point that I've been thinking about the last couple of weeks. Morales and his "left handed bat" are not helping out the team at all, he's only making the team worse. With Tony's Tumor coming back from a rehab assignment at any point and Morales signed through 2013, the DH spot being vacated can open the door for Bourjos in center field for 2013 after Torii departs which helps offensively and defensively.
Trumbo would get most of the DH time this season with Torii, Vernon, and Pujols being able to rotate to keep everybody fresh until Torii's gone. Once Torii's gone, Angels fans would get the outfield they've been dreaming about in Trout in left, Bourjos in center, and Trumbo in right with Wells as a 4th outfielder. It creates a young, cheap, and talented outfield that's under contract for years to come.
This is just my own opinion so feel free to think differently, any criticism or comments just post below. Thanks for reading!