Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos has been one of the most underrated players in baseball this season, combining exceptional defense with surprisingly strong hitting to rank 11th among AL position players in Wins Above Replacement.
Ozzie Guillen came to appreciate Bourjos after the Angels swept a two-game series against the White Sox this week, heaping praise on the 24-year-old center fielder:
Oh my god, he can be my favorite player. I’ve never seen a white man that can run that fast. It is really impressive. That man might be the fastest person in baseball right now.
Bourjos hasn’t quite mastered stealing bases, going 17-for-23 so far, but there’s no one faster running to first base or going first-to-third, and Ultimate Zone Rating says he’s been 10.2 runs above average defensively in center field while batting .282 with 39 extra-base hits and a .780 OPS in 116 games.
Major League Baseball has announced the umpiring crew for the World Series. John Hirschbeck is the crew chief. It’s his fifth World Series assignment, third as a crew chief.
A surprising name on the crew is Joe West. It’ll be his sixth World Series overall, but first since 2012. There had been chatter for several years that Major League Baseball was making a more concerted effort to get its best umpires into the World Series more often while minimizing the appearances of its weakest umpires. Most assumed West’s absence from the Fall Classic in recent years, despite his seniority, was a function of that. Maybe they’re still making merit a priority and maybe West has just improved? I’ll leave that for you to judge.
Anyway, here is the lineup of umps for Game 1. They will rotate after that, of course. If the series goes six games, Cowboy Joe will be calling the balls and strikes:
Home plate: Larry Vanover
1B: Chris Guccione
2B: John Hirschbeck
3B: Marvin Hudson
LF: Tony Randazzo
RF: Joe West
Replay Official for Games 1-2: Sam Holbrook (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)
Replay Official for Games 3-7: Larry Vanover (with assistance from Todd Tichenor)