From potential bench player, to actual ballplayer.
Out of of TCB dog house, and onto our list of bright spots.
Call it what you will, reason it however you wish, Michael Bourn proved just about every prognosticator, projection system, baseball insider, and cynic wrong with his 2009 season. At this time last year, nobody, this blog included, expected much of anything out of Mike. If he could avoid getting benched it would be a great success.
Think about that. When the Astros made their ill fated run towards the post season in 2008, Darin Erstad was getting significant time in CF because Bourn couldn't hold his own with the big leaguers. Meanwhile, Brad Lidge was mowin' 'em down in Philadelphia. Ed Wade looked the buffoon that most make him out to be.
Fast forward a season, and Wade looks quite...dare I say it...savvy. Our 26 year old centerfielder was a four win player, en route to having a bounce back season that would make Lidge himself smile. A 74 win club with the oldest roster in the game normally can't have that many positives going into an off season, and the Astros are no exception. Throughout the 162 game season however, a speedster whose roots are in Houston made us smile no matter how far away the Cardinals got in the standings.
Now there's this, confirmation of Michael Bourn's ascendancy into the class of a respectable ball player. With his first Gold Glove in just his second full season as a major leaguer, Michael doesn't need to look over his shoulder anymore, worrying that his job may be usurped at the next strike out our meek fly ball.
His game has the potential to expand even more, which is the incredible part of this story. I fully expect him to work just as hard this winter to hone his craft and return to Florida with more defined skills and an even better appreciation for what it takes to succeed in the bigs.
Congratulations to Michael Bourn. Humility seems to be his calling card, but deep down, it must be a great feeling to prove people wrong and to do so in convincing fashion. Question marks abound with the Astros, but out in center we're golden.