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In Praise Of Peter Bourjos On Defense...And Offense

Peter Bourjos has been a big reason why the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are even within shouting distance of a playoff spot this season. His defense in center field has been spectacular, living up to his stellar reputation, but perhaps more importantly, he has made himself into an offensive threat.

Bourjos has been arguably the Angels' best offensive outfielder this season, leading the outfielders with a .330 wOBA and second to Torii Hunter with a .745 OPS and 110 OPS+. Bourjos has made great improvement over last season, when he hit .204/.287/.381 in 51 games with the Halos. Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register explains:

"There's been a lot of improvement in his game from what we saw in two months last year," Scioscia said. "He's taken strides to be the player that he can be.

"Sure, there are going to be some down times (like Bourjos' current slump). But I think, all in all, we've seen some better at-bats as the year has gone on. He's gotten his bunts down. He's had a lot of extra-base hits. ... He's moving forward and I think that's encouraging. "

Bourjos plans to improve even more by playing winter ball this offseason. The claim to fame though for Bourjos is his defense, as his stellar speed and instincts allow him to catch nearly everything in sight. Rev Halofan at Halos Heaven analyzed just how great Bourjos' defense has been:

Peter Bourjos has amassed 2.4 dWAR in only 703 career Plate Appearances all of them with the Angels. This is pretty amazing for any player on any team in any era of baseball. For the Angels he is just behind Wally Joyner's 2.5 dWAR. Wally had the luxury of compiling that with the leather over 3,700+ Plate Appearances under the halo. How about other centerfielders in Angels history? If Bourjos maintains his pace, he would surpass Jim Edmonds next season, and the duo of Gary Pettis and Devon White before the 2014 All Star Break. How underrated is Peter Bourjos? Consider the flyball-heavy pitching styles of our three aces and understand how Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and Jered Weaver are looking forward to the next two seasons in Anaheim where the Bourjos-Marine-Layer conspiracy plots to hold all missiles in the park.

With 20-year old super prospect Mike Trout already in the majors, an Angels outfield with Bourjos and Trout alongside one another looks very formidable for years to come.