Originally posted on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 3/19/12

I was reading through Eric Karabell’s “Do Not Draft” List on ESPN today (Insider only), and who do I see atop his list of guys to avoid this season? If you’ve read the title, you probably have a good idea: Michael Bourn.

Listen Karabell, I understand your concerns regarding why a one-category, steals-only player should not be drafted where your colleagues at ESPN have Bourn ranked (35th) but the problem is that you logic is flawed; Bourn is not a one-category performer.

Last season Bourn scored 94 runs, which tied him for 21st in the league with Brandon Phillips. You don’t think 21st in a category is really all that impressive? Consider that in a standard, 10-team league, Bourn would be second or third in runs scored on just about every single squad. He scored those 94 runs despite playing two-third of his season in a Houston lineup that finished 26th in runs scored for the season. And last year’s edition of the Braves was only ranked 22nd. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I think the Braves’ offense will be better this season with Dan Uggla posting a better batting average and Martin Prado, Jason Heyward and Brian McCann likely improving as well.

And Bourn’s .294 average was pretty good, too. It wasn’t elite, ranking just 38th in the league, but his 656 at-bats were good for fifth-most in the league. That means his .294 average carries even more weight, since Bourn will accrue a higher percentage of your fantasy team’s at-bats than your average player. Looking at overall hits totals is a good way of accounting for the at-bats portion of a player’s impact in batting average, and Bourn’s 193 hits were good for ninth in the league.

But to expect Bourn’s .294 average to regress this season just because he’s a career .271 hitter? Come on, Karabell. That’s so 2004. Bourn’s career average is just .271 because he batted .229 in his first full season (2008), but in the three years since then he’s posted a .283 average in 1,797 at-bats. It took a .290 BABIP for Bourn to have that .229 season, and players with his speed don’t post .290 BABIPs very often. Plus, according to our xBA formula, Bourn should have batted .281 last year. Why would you even use his career .271 average as evidence of his expected regression. It’s completely misleading.

Giancarlo (formerly Mike) Stanton is a low-average hitter with above-average runs totals who gives you just a handful of steals but a boatload of homers and very good RBI potential, so why doesn’t he fall into the same category? And, while we’re on the subject of guys who excel in one category, does anyone even realize that Bourn’s 61 steals last year were 24.5 percent more than the second place guy (Brett Gardner, 49)? For Stanton to have the same kind of impact in homers, he’d need to hit 53 bombs this season (if we use Jose Bautista‘s 43 homers last year as the second-place estimate).

Bourn is no Derek Zoolander; he has more than one look, and to call him a one-category performer ignores the significant contributions he makes for your fantasy team.Well, obviously not your fantasy team, Karabell, but someones.

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Report: Grizzlies want Kevin Durant in free agency

WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns throws down monster dunk

Dos Anjos: McGregor will 'break like a girl' at UFC 196

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell hit in groin by LeBron pass

Kobe Bryant has great response to Tyronn Lue story

Report: St. Louis Blues no longer interested in Jonathan Drouin


Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Celtics legend Paul Pierce prepares for what ‘could be’ his last game in Boston

Free-agent WR Josh Morgan accidentally shot himself, charged with crime

Jon Beason retires after nine NFL seasons

Brewers Association sends Peyton Manning case of craft beer

Fighter says sex before fight partly to blame for loss

Kevin McHale: James Harden being out of shape hurt Rockets early

WATCH: Kevin Love re-injures left shoulder

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

Security guard indicted for assaulting University of Houston football fan

The LeBron-Kobe rivalry and Finals matchup that never was

Mario Williams recognizes Bills may release him

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker