Phillies Prospect #6: Michael Bourn

Michael Bourn is putting up good numbers this spring and has an outside shot at making the Phillies out of spring training. Before too long, Bourn figures to push somebody aside for a spot on a major league roster.

Michael Bourn didn't explode onto the scene last season when he hit the majors. In the minors though he's been putting up impressive numbers and figures to eventually at the major league level. He's got plenty of talent and the potential to even become an all-star caliber outfielder before his career is over. Last season, Bourn had to deal with a bit of an obstacle when the Phillies decided to have him start the season at Double-A Reading rather than give him the promotion to Triple-A that they had hinted he would get during the off-season. Bourn may have been sulking a little at the start of the season and had to go on a 9-for-24 (.375) run to boost his average up to the .250 mark at the end of April. May and June got much better and even though he dropped off in July, he still wound up getting a promotion to Triple-A Scranton and eventually to Philadelphia.

This spring, Bourn is putting on a nice show in major league camp. His odds of sticking with the team might be long, but his odds of ever being back at Double-A are next to impossible. Before long, Bourn will be pushing his way onto the Phillies roster and more than likely before too long.

Michael Bourn's career stats

'03 Batavia 0 4 .280 35 125 12 35 0 1 23 23 28 .404
'04 Lakewood 5 53 .317 109 413 92 131 20 14 57 85 88 .433
'05 Reading 6 44 .268 135 544 80 146 18 8 38 63 123 .348
'06 Reading 4 26 .274 80 318 62 87 5 6 30 36 67 .350
'06 Scranton 1 15 .283 38 152 34 43 5 7 15 20 33 .368
'06 Philadelphia 0 0 .125 17 8 2 1 0 0 1 1 3 .222
Minor League Career 16 142 .285 397 1552 280 442 48 36 163 227 339 .379

Acquired: Drafted by the Phillies in the fourth round of the 2003 Draft out of the University of Houston. Was originally drafted in the 19th round of the 2000 Draft, but didn't sign with Houston and elected to play college ball instead.

Batting and Power: Bourn finds ways to get on base, which is the key to his success. He doesn't have much power, but that's okay, since he's not one of those guys who thinks he has more power than he has and looks to play long ball. For Bourn, he'd rather simply get on base and make things happen. The Phillies want him to work on pushing his walks higher and considering that he walked just once every 8.4 at bats last season, that's a definite goal that he'll need to reach if he wants to truly take advantage of his speed. He can also improve on cutting down on his strikeouts; he struck out once every 4.7 at bats last season, which is higher than the Phillies want it to be, but may not improve much considering how he's done in his career.

Baserunning and Speed: One big part of Bourn's game is his speed. He's got blazing speed and uses it well on the basepaths and in center field. He has enough speed to eventually be at or near the top of the league in stolen bases, but again, his odds of doing that improve if he can cut down on the Ks and increase the walks.

Defense: One of the most unrecognized parts of Bourn's game is his defense. He has played both center and right field and moves to either spot without any admustment problems. If his defense goes unrecognized, his arm is totally off the radar. Before long though opponents will learn some harsh lessons about trying to challenge Bourn's arm.

Projection: Bourn has loads of talent, but is just going to have to be eased into playing as a regular in the majors. It's not likely that he'll make it to Philly and take the league by storm like Ryan Howard did. For Bourn, it's much more likely that he'll pay some dues before he fits into the lineup as a regular and eventually becomes a stud everyday player. He's a smart kid who respects the game and will learn from other players ahead of him and will accept whatever role he can get and appreciate every opportunity. That humility may be something that he learned from not getting the promotion to Triple-A to start last season. It's going to be interesting to see how he handles things if he winds up at Triple-A to start this season rather than making the 25 man roster, especially if he puts up big numbers in spring training.


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