Michael Bourn is something of a white whale for me. He represents something that is very hard to find, a 100% true leadoff hitter and center fielder in the tradition of Tim Raines and Kenny Lofton. A player in today's game that produces something on the order of Lofton's mid/late 1990's peak would be very, very valuable and would set him apart from pretenders like Juan Pierre. And frankly, Lofton wasn't even terrible last season. He still gets on base at a reasonable clip and does a manageable job with the glove.
Still, when I gave him a glowing review and perfect 5 star rating, I was irrationally exuberant overlooked the fact that he was still a 21 year old in the South Atlantic League. We all make our mistakes. I'm still higher on Bourn than most, primarily because he still demonstrates the skills that made me all weak in the knees over him the first place.
At 24 years old he probably isn't going to break through and actually become Kenny Lofton circa 1996, but PECOTA likes me enough to project him to hit .271/.346/.401 this season, which given his speed has some value.
My main reason for optimism is that he has always maintained a healthy walk rate and his caught stealing rate has always been very good. He's also pretty good defensively, though he's no Aaron Rowand. He'll never hit 20 home runs in a season, but he might end up hitting enough liners into the gaps to keep pitchers from throwing him nothing but strikes and limiting his ability to work the count. If his minor league numbers are any indication, he's likely to challenge for the league lead in triples year in and year out. He's also certain to be a very hot property in roto leagues.