Miami Marlins: Justin Bour’s value as a specialist

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At the very least, Justin Bour has been one of the most fun-loving Miami Marlins in 2015. Between the copious amounts of pine tar applied to his bat and batting without batting gloves, Bour has become a fan favorite in Miami.

After Mike Morse proved to be a tremendous bust for the Marlins in 2015 and was dumped in a trade to the Dodgers, Justin Bour stepped in and stepped up. 

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Bour began the season as a pinch-hitter, but stepped into an everyday role towards the middle of 2015 and has held the first base position for the remainder of the season.

In this role, Bour has been a solid, slightly above replacement level player, putting together a respectable 2015 season, one which should carry over into the Marlins 2016 plans.

Bour has played in 123 games for the Marlins, smashing 23 home runs with 71 RBI in 424 PA’s. These are pretty respectable numbers for Bour, who has provided much needed thunder several times during the season.

Unfortunately though, Bour is far from perfect. His 22.2 strikeout percentage is below average and he can be caught in just about every single game swinging at pitches that are well outside of the zone. Bour’s BB% is also below the league average registering at 7.8%.

For a power hitter, you can live with those stats. Bour will swing and miss more and walk less than the average player.

It’s also worth noting that Justin Bour created 115 runs for the Marlins in 2015 (On FanGraphs wRC+ scale), which is above the league average. Weighing in Marlins Park’s status as a notorious pitchers park, Bour had a fair amount of success creating runs for the Fish this season.

All things considered, Justin Bour is a specialist. This is not a bad thing, he simply excels in a specific area. Bour is a good backup first baseman, and a solid left-handed pinch hitter off of your bench. He can do a few things really well, just not everything. But because of his specific skill-set, he becomes an asset.

So why should Bour stick around in 2016?

Simple. His pinch-hit abilities were among the best in the majors, he can provide good production off the bench, and he is a solid player to put in when the starters need a day off. There’s a place for a 6’4 power hitting first baseman, a niche role that fits him perfectly.

If the Marlins can realize Bour’s value as a specialist, exploit it, and use him in the correct situations, he has a future on the 2016 edition of the Miami Marlins. He’s just not an everyday player, but still deserving of a spot on an MLB roster. This Miami cult hero may stick around through 2016, and beyond.

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