The Philadelphia Phillies offense has begun to heat up with the summer weather, led by sudden production from a corner outfielder.
It’s safe to say that Peter Bourjos had a rough start to his Phillies career. The Opening Day starter in right field finished April with just a .164 batting average. He didn’t look much better in May, carrying a .230/.269/.311 hitting split through the month.
It was safe to say at that point that the starting job was no longer in Bourjos’ hands. In May, the former Angels and Cardinals player started 24 games; in June he started only 16.
However, riding the bench with limited time in the lineup must have lit a fire under Bourjos, as he became a whole new player in the month of June.
Since June 1st, Bourjos is batting over .400 and has an OPS at a ridiculous 1.069 mark. He has picked up two of his three home runs this season in that span as well.
Bourjos has a 0.503 “win probability added” since June 1st, which equates to a 3.6 WPA when averaged out to 162 games. Comparatively, Bourjos actually detracted from the Phillies’s win probability in April and May combined.
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Manager Pete Mackanin has recognized his outfielder’s success, putting him in the starting lineup on a much more consistent basis. Bourjos has started every game for the Phillies since June 20th. Following the club’s recent successful 5-4 western road trip, Mackanin gave high praise.
“Bourjos was probably the MVP of our trip,” Mackanin said. “The guy just turned it on and started playing like an All-Star.”
An odd trend that began this year for Bourjos is a newfound tendency to pull the ball heavily to the right side. Bourjos has always leaned slightly to his pull side, but he still placed a decent amount of balls up the middle.
This season, Bourjos has pulled the ball 45.6% of the time, which is easily a career high for him.
Ultimately, Bourjos’ torrid pace will likely end, and he will fall back to Earth. However, if he can find a nice middle ground between the paltry start and his tremendous numbers over the past month, the 29-year old can easily keep himself in the starting lineup and perhaps campaign for a shot to stay on the Phillies roster in 2017.