The Process Versus Peter Bourjos’ Glove | The Process Report

The Process Versus Peter Bourjos’ Glove

In football or basketball, it’s not unusual to highlight one defender as the key to a game plan: Throw away from Nnamdi Asomugha or don’t drive the lane against Dwight Howard. In baseball, it’s unheard of and inapplicable, but if you could plan around an individual outfield defender, you may choose to do so when facing the Angels and Peter Bourjos.

The 24-year-old has 210 big league plate appearances and a career slash line of .209/.243/.372 –hitting like Sam Fuld would be an upgrade. Bourjos, though, is probably the league’s best defensive center fielder. That’s no slam on Franklin Gutierrez or even B.J. Upton, Bourjos is just that good. The defensive metrics love him (Total Zone had him worth 15 run last season –he played in 51 games—meanwhile UZR had him worth 16 games –that’s a 44 runs per 150 games pace) and he certainly passes the eye test.

Consider the image above, captured from MLB.com’s highlights (here’s the link to the Bourjos’ tag if you want to burn 30-to-45 minutes watching sweet, sweet glove action). As you can see, Bourjos is shaded to the left field side of second as the ball is put into play. He runs from that spot and dives in front of the Royals.com advertisement. I don’t know how large those outfield wall ads are, but I would guess something like 10-to-12 feet and he cleared two of them. Oh, and he did it in four seconds.

Here’s another instance, showing off his range to right-center. The ball is smoked by Felix Pie and from the camera angle, it again appears Bourjos was on the left field side of second. Within a span of three seconds, Bourjos has taken his first step, accelerated, reached the warning track, and tracked the ball well enough to make a running grab over his front shoulder. In three seconds.

Coming off a series in which the Rays had a batting average on balls in play below .170, nobody wants to hear that the best flycatcher in the business is heading to town, but he is. Hopefully the Rays can find holes or just decide to hit a bunch of balls over the fences. Preferably far, far over the fences.



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