Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn: Trade Deadline Movers

Over the weekend we saw two impact bats from the same last place Houston outfield get traded to different playoff contenders in the National League East. Lets take a gander at how the productivity of Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn looks from here on out.

Hunter Pence

Anyone that moves from the Astros to the Phillies is automatically going receive a boost to their fantasy value. The Astros team OBP is terrible at .312, and that’s counting the .353 of Pence who can’t exactly drive himself in every time up. The Phillies offense has actually been a touch below league average this season, but hitting fifth behind Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard will surely present Pence with more opportunities to knock runners in. He’s hitting for much less power this year (.160 ISO), but a move to Citizen’s BankParkmay not restore his pop as much as you may think. The park has actually been pretty neutral over the years, ranking 17th, 16th, 12th and 15th in offense over the past four seasons according to ESPN’s park factors. The move is certainly an upgrade for Pence and the Phillies, but should only give a small bump to his fantasy numbers going forward.

The biggest loser in the Pence trade isn’t Raul Ibanez, he of the .295 OBP and .318 wOBA, its rookie Dominic Brown. He was hitting .246/.334/.393. While the power wasn’t what we would have hoped he was certainly playing better than Ibanez, but because he’s apparently unfamiliar with left field he gets to toil in Triple-A while Ibanez continues to hurt the Phillies already below average offense.

Michael Bourn

Bourn was the best position player to be traded by the deadline, even if most of Americadoesn’t realize it. He also instantly becomes the second best player on the Braves behind Brian McCann. His main contribution to the Braves will be solidifying the leadoff and centerfield positions. His 39 stolen bases are nearly as many as the Braves have as a team. Currently Bourn is the 32nd ranked player in Yahoo! leagues and that figure doesn’t look to change. He’s going to continue to get on base and run, and should score more runs with the Braves lineup hitting behind him.

As for the Astros, they lose their two best players and the outlook for the rest of the season got even bleaker, if that’s possible. Their current lineup is depressing. Carlos Lee is the only player who has any real value, unless you’re a Clint Barmes fan. It’s time to start streaming any pitcher you can againstHoustonfor the rest of the season, and likely 2012 as well.



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Erik writes for DraysBay and has also written for Bloomberg Sports. Follow him on Twitter @ehahmann.


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Mark
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Mark

One thing I worry about a bit with Bourn is that the Braves are a pretty notorious red light team. Basestealing simply isn’t a part of their organizational philosophy and hasn’t been for years. They’ve been among the lowest teams in terms of SB attempts for the better part of a decade, and while some of that may have been Bobby Cox, it hasn’t changed much under Freddi Gonzalez, and he seemed to have brought some of Cox’s philosophies with him to Florida when he was there. I’m not sure if this will necessarily effect Bourn. They were letting Jordan Schafer run pretty frequently, but no one else on the team had more than 5 SBs this year before Bourn came over. If anything, I wouldn’t necessarily adjust my rankings this year, but I would keep an eye on it and if his attempts do tail off a bit, I might adjust my rankings for next year or even try and sell him in Dynasty Leagues.

Jones
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Jones

They haven’t had many steals because they haven’t had many fast players. Who on the Braves would you expect to have more than 5 steals on another team? McCann? Freeman? Uggla? Chipper? Maybe Prado, but he barely ran in the minors. Like you said, they let Schafer run, because he’s fast and it makes sense. The other guys don’t run because they’re slow. I’d be surprised if they told the league leader in steals to take it easy.

Ben
Member
Ben

This year, Jordan Schaefer has 19 stolen base attempts out of 92 opportunities. Bourn has 46 attempts after 210 opportunities. That’s good for rates of 20.6% and 21.9%, respectively. I think it would stand to reason that the difference in rates could be attributed to Bourn’s superior baserunning skills rather than a difference in organizational philosophies.

To be honest, I’d be more inclined to think that Atlanta’s conservative approach on the basepaths has more to do with lacking base-stealers rather than lacking the will to steal bases.

Tommy
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Tommy

Yep, as these guys said, it’s a personnel issue. Fredi loves any sort of small ball. He’s just not particularly adept at matching strategy to personnel. Hit and run with low contact guys at the plate, bunting (or pinch bunting in some cases) as soon as a guy gets to 1B, regardless of who’s at the plate, and stealing on strange counts with the wrong guys and situations that don’t warrant the risk. That said, he likes being aggressive on the bases. Regarding Prado, he’s a good baserunner in general, and has a positive Bsr contribution, but he’s a terrible base stealer.

Mark
Guest
Mark

I understand these points, and perhaps I overstated the point, but this issue isn’t isolated to this year. Its been something that goes far back into Bobby Cox’s tenure. Sure, they don’t have the personell to steal bases, but they never really have for about a decade, which isn’t arbitrary happenstance. And guys who were viewed as having average or better speed, even if not true burners, were pretty well reigned in (Melky Cabrera, Yunel Escobar, Jeff Francoeur, Nate McLouth, aside from Escobar also all guys who have done significant basestealing in other organizations). It just seems to be something the organization as a whole likes to keep reigns on to a degree, and though less extreme there were some similarities when Fredi managed in Florida.

Bourn is the first true burner Atlanta’s had in years, not counting Schafer, who was a decent looking prospect never given much leash by the organization. My point is simply that the circumstance is a bit more unique than just saying “Bourn escapes the Astros! Hooray!” Bourn has generally been an efficient basestealer, but if he goes into a bit of a CS slump at some point a la Brett Gardner at the beginning of this year, it wouldn’t shock me to see the reigns put on him a bit, and in real life, this discussion probably has very little relevance. My feeling is the Braves acquired him more for his glove and his ability to get on base than his raw speed, but I’m not in their heads, so I absolutely could be wrong. I’m just not entirely certain we should be so sure what to expect here, and there’s some possibility that fantasy wise Bourn loses some value as he slides back into a 30-45 SB guy next year instead of a 60-70 SB guy.

Kevin
Guest
Kevin

Furcal, Kenny Lofton, and Deion all ran. They run their faster guys, red light the slower guys.

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