Making the Grade: Ranking Center Fielders in the AL Central

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No. 3: Michael Bourn, Cleveland Indians

Sep 2, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians center fielder Michael Bourn (24) strikes out during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

When the Cleveland Indians acquired Michael Bourn via free agency before the 2013 season, the Tribe thought they were getting one of the game’s premier leadoff men.

Bourn was coming off an All-Star season in Atlanta that saw him hit .274/.348/.391 and steal 42 bases. It was the fifth time in seven years that Bourn eclipsed the 40 steals mark and, at four years for $48 million, the Tribe thought they got their man at a bargain price.

But they didn’t.

Bourn has hit just .257/.312/.355 in his two-plus seasons with the Indians and missed significant time with nagging injuries. He has just 34 steals to his name in that span, including a less-than-impressive 10-steal performance in 2014. He is off to a another slow start in 2015, hitting below the Mendoza line and getting on base — or not getting on base — at a worrisome clip.

His placement in the middle of the pack doesn’t say much about his current production. Instead, it illustrates the lack of talent in center field in the AL Central. Bourn still has one year remaining on his deal, which is likely not tradeable, so he is likely in Cleveland to stay for the time being.

If he continues to be unproductive, it will be interesting to see how willing the cash-strapped Indians are to eat this bad contract and move on to one of the young, talented outfielders Cleveland has lurking in the minor leagues.

Next: No. 2