Phillies: Evaluating the case for Justin Bour over Carlos Santana

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SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 12: Justin Bour #33 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on before a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on August 12, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - AUGUST 12: Justin Bour #33 of the Philadelphia Phillies looks on before a baseball game against the San Diego Padres at PETCO Park on August 12, 2018 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images) /
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MIAMI, FL – JULY 23: Justin Bour #41 of the Miami Marlins rounds third base after hitting a solo home run in the second inning against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park on July 23, 2018 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

The case for Bour

When you compare Bour and Santana’s stat lines, Bour leads in almost every category this season, but to varying degrees. Bour has two more home runs and a better batting average (.229 to .215) and slugging percentage (.413 to .396). He also has the slight edge in wOBA (.331 to .327) and defensive value, albeit they’ve both been bad (-8.4 to -9.0).

Bour fits the mold as the power-hitting first baseman. Not only does he have more home runs than Santana, he hits them at a higher rate. 20% of Bour’s fly balls leave the park, while only 11.5% of Santana’s do. Santana hits more fly balls, but he hits them at nearly half the rate Bour does. Bour also hits more line drives (19.6% to 14.7%) and generates more hard contact (38.6% to 35.1%).

Bour also performs much better against right-handed pitching compared to Santana. Bour has a .244/.362/.477 line with a 125 wRC+ against righties this year. Meanwhile, Santana has a .207/.359/.383 line with a 103 wRC+ when facing righties. If nothing else, there is definitely a case to platoon Bour.

Bour also has performed quite well against some of the best pitchers in the division in his career. Corey Seidman of NBC Sports Philadelphia compiled Bour’s numbers, and they are tremendous:

"One of the things to really like about Bour is his production against pitching within the division. He’s 8 for 21 (.381) with two homers, a double and three walks against Jacob deGrom. Yes, that Jacob deGrom. Bour has been one of the very best hitters in the league against deGrom during the righty’s stellar career. Bour has gone a respectable 5 for 17 (.294) vs. Noah Syndergaard. He’s reached base in 17 of 28 plate appearances vs. Julio Teheran. He’s 8 for 15 with two homers and a double against Mike Foltynewicz. He has a homer and a .385 OBP in 26 plate appearances vs. Stephen Strasburg."

As you can see, there is a strong case to put Bour in the starting lineup. What about the argument to keep Santana?

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