The Los Angeles Angels haven’t really played up to snuff so far in 2013. When your pitching staff has a negative fWAR through the first month of the season, it’s very likely that you won’t win many games. But there have been a few bright spots for the Angels, most notably what Peter Bourjos is doing with regular playing time. Bourjos, who struggled to get playing time because of an overcrowded outfield in 2012, has shined as the team’s starting centerfielder. Entering today, Bourjos’ triple slash-line is a very respectable .319/.375/.472, which is good enough for manager Mike Scioscia to move him into the leadoff spot ahead of Mike Trout.
Bourjos has a 0.4 fWAR because of his offensive efforts rather than his glove. But Bourjos is a very good fielder historically, so one would have to imagine that his UZR would rise throughout the season, even if that statistic were completely garbage. Bourjos’ hot start doesn’t really surprise me, since I have been a fan of his for the past few years. I just never liked him as much as some of the Fangraphs people did, especially Dave Cameron, who told me on Twitter last season that he wouldn’t have traded Bourjos for Aroldis Chapman. Alriiiiiiiiiiighty then, Dave.
Nevertheless, going with Bourjos in centerfield was the right move by the Angels. Even though it must be a little painful to watch Torii Hunter hit over .380 and Vernon Wells drop bombs for the New York Yankees, Bourjos is a better long-term solution for the Halos, and at a fraction of the price. So, even though the Angels are struggling right now, it could be even worse if it wasn’t for the great play of Peter Bourjos.