In case you have not heard, the Astros made a trade yesterday. As this is typed, fans are already erecting the bronze statue of Jeff Lunhow outside of Minute Maid Park. New shortstop, new starter, low price. Nothing to be upset about there!
This post is not about that trade.
Quietly, Brian Bogusevic has been one of the best hitters in the Dominican Winter League, or Liga de Beisbol Dominicano. His slash line (BA / OBP / SLG) sits at .317/.446/.500 on December 15 after 120 AB.
The usual caveats apply: Small sample size. Lower level of competition than he typically faces.
Still, Bogusevic's stats compare extremely favorably to some top prospects in the league, including San Francisco's Brandon Belt, the top prospect in their system heading into 2011. And for this, Astros fans should be happy.
This does not necessarily predict greatness for Bogusevic in the big leagues, but there are several positive things to take away.
- Bogusevic is 3rd in the league in Slugging %, which is partly fueled by his 4 Home Runs, but mostly by his 8 Doubles. Strength can't be taught, so if Bogusevic can keep up a decent pace of doubles with the occasional homer in the majors, he could be an everyday-worthy outfielder for the 2012 Astros
- Bogusevic is walking. A lot. He leads the league in walks right now. In a league with iffy pitching, the walk rate can not correlate to the majors, but this can only be seen as a hopeful thing for his plate discipline. In the majors so far, Bogusevic is averaging around a 8.5% walk rate, which is fantastic for an inexperienced hitter. If he is learning to be even more selective, that is even better. Obviously, a 22.5% walk rate is not sustainable, but it's a huge jump over his 11%-ish minor league walk rate. Maybe he's learned even more patience.
None of this makes me want to predict a huge 2012 breakout for Bogusevic, but it does interest me enough to want to see him with an everyday role. Bogusevic should be given every chance as a starter in Right or Center Field. The steady improvement he's shown, plus an impressive showing in the Winter Leagues demands it, if only to find out if he's for real.