What Michael Bourn Brings to the Braves

The Atlanta Braves stuck to their plan and acquired another outfield bat in Michael Bourn. While the San Francisco Giants, Cleveland Indians, and Philadelphia Phillies all made highly publicized deals at the Trade deadline, the Braves may have bolstered their lineup the most.

[caption id="attachment_263" align="alignright" width="285" caption="Newly Acquired Braves Center Fielder Michael Bourn (Photo by the Associated Press)"][/caption]

In Michael Bourn, Atlanta finally gets that true leadoff hitter its been lacking. Bourn is a classic tablesetter who gets on base and can challenge opposing catcher’s arms with his speed. The 28-year-old speedster has performed well in stints with Philadelphia and Houston, but will really begin to shine with the high scoring Braves.

After an All-Star selection in 2010, the former Houston Astros center fielder has been on a tear in 2011, hitting .303 with 39 stolen bases. In his six year career, Bourne only has 12 home runs and 140 RBI’s, but that doesn’t speak any volume about what he brings to the table. His 212 stolen bases do that. Bourn isn’t just elite at baserunning, he can also flash some leather. He’s won consecutive Gold Gloves over the past two seasons and looks to be in contention for a third.

On July 31st, the Braves acquired Bourn from Houston for Jordan Schafer, Brett Oberholtzer, Paul Clemens, and Juan Abreu. Atlanta General Manager Frank Wren made a whale of a deal. The Braves made it clear they wouldn’t trade away any top prospects and they kept their word. They are deep enough at the Major League level to afford to be picky with their prospects. Wren boosted the Braves chances of not only making the postseason, but staying competitive with the division rival Phillies.

Bourn’s impact on Atlanta will be greater than most anticipate. The Braves aren’t considered one of the speedier teams, a notion not helped by their 42 stolen bases (27th in MLB) so far in 2011. Michael Bourn has 39 stolen bases so far in 2011. Atlanta now finally has an elite leadoff hitter who will only flourish ahead of the Braves’ power-hitters.

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