- Dan Szymborski, ESPN Insider
One of the most entertaining trade deadlines in years has come and gone, with a lot of teams that are usually sellers (Pirates, Indians) becoming buyers. For each transaction made in the last few days, I projected the acquired players using the ZiPS projection system and ranked the acquisitions by expected pennant race impact. We have a lot of ground to cover, so let's get right down to business.
Bourn is not the best player to be traded in the last week, but he edges out Carlos Beltran in impact on the pennant race. The Braves patch up the team's biggest hole, center field, with the acquisition of Bourn and as the cherry on top, get to keep Bourn next season as well and don't give up any of their top prospects. The decline in league offense serves to partially mask just how good Bourn has been this season -- with 4.3 wins above replacement player (WAR), Bourn ranks seventh in the NL this season. The ZiPS projection system projects Bourn to hit .277/.348/.366 with 17 stolen bases for the rest of the season. Add in some Gold Glove defense and the knowledge that Jordan Schafer, gone to Houston, won't play center field for the Braves, and Braves fans have a lot to be happy about.
On a straight comparison to Bourn, Beltran probably still is the better player, but the Giants didn't have a hole in the outfield as large as Atlanta's. Beltran's the best outfielder in San Francisco, but he's generally replacing players who were legitimate major leaguers. Still, Beltran's ZiPS projection of .279/.370/.476 for the rest of the year is a great boost to a team at the bottom of the league in scoring. Losing prospect Zack Wheeler hurts, but the starting pitching is a current team strength.
1dJesse Rogers and Jerry Crasnick