Will Michael Bourn return to previous form? 

April, 17, 2014
Michael BournAP Photo/Carlos OsorioMichael Bourn's fantasy value has dropped considerably the past two seasons, due to a decline in batting average and steals.

It’s easy to forget now, but it wasn’t too long ago that speedy outfielder Michael Bourn was regarded as a really valuable fantasy option. In 2012, he was a fourth-round pick in ESPN average live drafts. Last season, he was a sixth-rounder. Today, after he and his now-healthy hamstring finally made their season debut Wednesday night, the 20th-rounder remains a free agent in a quarter of ESPN standard leagues. Talk about a fall from grace!

Bourn came off the disabled list this week and Wednesday he hit leadoff as the Cleveland Indians held on for a 3-2 win over Anibal Sanchez and the Detroit Tigers. Bourn walked on five pitches to start the game and scored a run, then made four outs, but at least he was out there and healthy. Remember, during the four-year period ending after 2012, Bourn averaged 54 stolen bases and 93 runs scored per season, while batting .280. Last season, his first with the Tribe, he battled hamstring problems and hit .263 with 23 stolen bases in 130 mainly disappointing games. It was his worst season since 2008 and many a fantasy owner, including myself, seems skeptical about Bourn returning to prior glory, even though he’s only 31 years old.