HOUSTON - AUGUST 29: Right fielder Brian Bogusevic #19 of the Houston Astros leaps but can't make the catch on a ball hit by Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates for a two-run home run in the fourth inning at Minute Maid Park on August 29, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Some things to talk about while you wait for the release of this week's podcast...
1) Brian Bogusevic and defense - You're ready to give up on Brian Bogusevic in center field, right? He's old, he can't hit, what good is he? Well, before you do that, can you remember when Michael Bourn played his first full season in Houston? Didn't he seem hopelessly outmatched and destined to be replaced?
Yeah, yeah, I know. Bourn was younger. Three years younger, to be exact in that first full-time season. Plus, Bourn played a more premium defensive position, and had a chance to be a leadoff guy. He had a decent walk rate and his strikeout rate was in control.
Bogey may be older, but he's been much, much better than Bourn was defensively that year. At least, that's judging by the defensive metrics we have now. In fact, by those metrics, Bogusevic has been one of the best defensive outfielders in all of baseball.
Not just right fielders, either. He's been better than a bunch of center fielders and left fielders too. Going by FanGraph's Fielding Runs, Bogusevic has been the sixth-best defensive outfielder in all of baseball. Guys like Bourn and Ichiro have been better, along with the underrated Ben Revere, Jason Heyward and Alfonso Soriano.
But, Bogey has been better than the MIke Trout's of the world. He's been better than Josh Reddick, the Oakland dynamo had for a song in the offseason. He's been better than Shane Victorino, Colby Rasmus, Drew Stubbs and Carlos Beltran, and it's not even close.
There's more disparity if we use Defensive Runs Saved, so this isn't a definitive test. But, looking at how good Bogusevic has been defensively, it's easy to see why he's continued to get solid playing time for this club. Bourn put almost identical numbers at the plate. Sure, he had more steals, but Bogey has shown a little more power and a better walk rate.
Let's say Bogey can make a leap like Bourn did in that second full season and he hits more like .280 with a .360 on-base percentage and a slugging percentage closer to .400 than it is now. He's not your prototypical corner outfielder, but he's plenty valuable.
That's why he'll keep playing. Until George Springer or Domingo Santana are ready to take over, expect Bogusevic to get time out there. His defense is that good and there's still a decent chance his bat comes around. He's not blocking anyone (sorry, F-Mart fans), and like Bourn before him, he's more valuable to Houston than to other teams in the league. Maybe Luhnow The Great And Powerful can get a great haul for him, but until then, I'm content to have him playing out there in right field.
2) Jose Altuve and uniqueness - There have been plenty of times this season when we have looked at a player's stats and projected them out to the end of the season. At that point, we try to look at other historical players and try to make some comparisons based on that.
The problem with Jose Altuve is that he doesn't fit any traditional comparisons. He's got a chance to hit .300 with 10 home runs, 30 steals and 40 doubles. Even if he only gets 35 doubles, he's still in pretty unique company. The list of guys who have hit at least 10 homers, at least .300 with the other two qualifiers are a unique bunch. They're either better home run hitters or have higher stolen base totals.
And we haven't even gotten to the age part, which puts Altuve in even more unique company. Very few people have ever pulled off a feat like that as young as he has, and they all did it with a much higher home run total. So, how do we compare Altuve historically?
The simple answer is we don't. Just like with Jordan Lyles, when the sample size gets as small as they are with Altuve, it means we're seeing something pretty unique. Obviously, his story already is pretty unique, but the season he's putting up here in his sophomore campaign is just as interesting.
3) Roy Oswalt and complaining - Is anyone who lived through that last season Roy Oswalt was in Houston surprised by all this drama in Arlington? Did the Rangers think he was magically going to accept a demotion to the bullpen willingly?
When did RoyO become such a cranky old man? As Craig Calcaterra says in this post, if his goal is to get back to the World Series, he should want to play with the Texas Rangers, who have one of the best shots at getting there in the American League.
What's even more puzzling is that Roy volunteered to come out of the bullpen on multiple occasions for Houston. Of course, that was during his between-start bullpen sessions or during the playoffs, and not because he was disrespected by being dropped out of the rotation.
How much do you want to bet Roy just retires after this season?