Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 2/6/12

Michael Bourn is a shining example of what I like most in a player in fantasy sports: consistency.

His situation was greatly upgraded last season when he was traded from the lowly Astros to the Atlanta Braves at the trade deadline. However, Bourn’s production (runs, average, stolen bases) remained the same after the trade. In a time where just changing teams makes players forget how to play baseball (i.e. Adam Dunn, Edgar Renteria or Jayson Werth anyone?) it’s reassuring that Bourn didn’t have that problem.

His batting average hovered around .300 after July and his stolen bases and runs were also basically the same. He had 10 three-hit games in four months before the trade and five three-hit games in two months with the Braves. Pencil in Atlanta’s historic late-season swoon and you have to think that he would have had better production if the Braves hadn’t tanked so badly.

Martin Prado, Dan Uggla, Brian McCann and Freddie Freeman would probably help any player in terms of production and protection. I think with a full season in this lineup opposed to the young, inexperienced lineup of Houston, Bourn can improve upon his numbers from 2011 (193 hits, 94 runs, 2 home runs, 50 RBI, .294 average, MLB-best 61 steals.) I think he can easily go for 100+ runs and 200 hits while maintaining the same average, runs and steals totals.

When it comes to draft position, he’s definitely a top-100 pick or a top-20 outfielder. He’s more valuable than one might think, and another thing I like is that he’s a proven commodity.

Of all the steal-heavy outfielders (Brett Gardner, Coco Crisp, Ichiro Suzuki, Juan Pierre, Angel Pagan and Austin Jackson), Bourn is the best. Of course, like everyone on this list, Bourn’s upside is limited because he possesses almost no power.

If you draft Bourn, getting a power-heavy outfielder isn’t a bad idea as they would compliment each other perfectly. Mike Stanton is the first that comes to mind, but also Nelson Cruz or Jay Bruce.

Whatever the case, you can do much worse than getting Bourn as one of your core four outfielders. He will get you the runs, hits (if they score hits) and stolen bases for you and he has a chance in 2012 to best his 2011 numbers with the Braves and Astros. Go fishing, but not before pick 70.

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