Astros get their veteran lefty outfielder and keep Bourgeois


The Astros signed lefthanded hitting outfielder Cory Sullivan to a NRI minor league deal.  The Astros also said Jason Bourgeois, an outfielder knocked off the 40 man roster recently, accepted a minor league assignment..  So presumably Sullivan and Bourgeois could both compete for a back up outfielder slot on the Astros.  Since Sullivan is a LHB who can take Erstad's role, you have to figure his chances of making the team are pretty good.  Bourgeois, who is a Houston native, may have a tougher time making the team, but he could provide depth in Round Rock.

I recently commented that a quite a few LHB outfielders remained, and wondered whom the Astros had in mind.  I remember seeing Sullivan's name on the free agent list and hoping he wouldn't be the Astros' target.  Sullivan, a long time Rockies turned Mets reserve outfielder, has had a mediocre career.  He is useful in limited roles, but you probably won't be satisfied if he has to start a lot of games.  After looking at his stats again, I decided that my initial negative reaction might not be justified.  Sullivan has some good points: he can take a walk, and he has a decent OBP for a career part time player.  He also has some speed and the ability to steal bases.  On the down side: he has no power and the defensive metrics indicate that he isn't a good outfielder.  Although he is fast enough that he has played quite a bit of CF, UZR and Fielding Bible both indicate that he is slightly below average as a fielder.  Sullivan's OPS generally has been in the .720 range, which is blah for an outfielder, but probably is OK for a part time player.  It's an improvement over Erstad's offense last year.  With new manager Mills' background as a coach in the Rockies' organization, I wouldn't be surprised if he played a role in this signing.

Bill James and Marcel have better projections for Sullivan than CHONE. 

Bill James  wOBA .325   Marcel  wOBA  .321  CHONE  wOBA  .306

Sullivan isn't a bad signing for a back up outfielder slot.  But it begs the question whether the Astros would have been better off looking to some younger players to fill this role.  Round Rock's Bogusevic  profiles as perhaps a younger version of Sullivan.  I understand why the Astros want to give Bogusevic more starting time reps in Round Rock.  On the other hand, Bogey is nearing the age when he needs to make the major league roster before his prospect status fades.

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