Michael Bourn already has a new career-high for homers


It’s not quite an out of nowhere power explosion like Jose Bautista in 2010 or even Jacoby Ellsbury last season, but Braves center fielder Michael Bourn has already set a new career-high for homers in a season.

Bourn went deep yesterday for the sixth time in 57 games. His previous career-high was five homers, set in 2008 when he played 138 games. And in the three seasons since then Bourn had a total of seven homers in 456 games. In other words he’s never shown this type of power before, even in the minors.

And here’s the craziest part: All six of his homers have come in the last 24 games. Bourn had zero homers on May 11. Fast forward a month and suddenly he’s on pace for 17 homers after coming into the season with a grand total of 13 homers in 716 games and 2,663 plate appearances.

Along with adding significant thump at age 29 the impending free agent is also hitting a career-high .305 with a career-high .354 on-base percentage. He’s cut back some on the bases, stealing “only” 15 bags after leading the league in steals during each of the past three seasons, but if Bourn can maintain most of this new-found offensive production he doesn’t need to rely on his legs so much to provide value.

Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for Red Sox

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No surprise here: Chris Sale will start on Opening Day for the Red Sox, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports. The Red Sox open the season on March 29 in Tampa Bay against the Rays. Sale will oppose Chris Archer.

Sale, 28, is the fifth different Opening Day starter the Red Sox have had in as many years, preceded by Rick Porcello, David Price, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester. Sale started on Opening Day for the White Sox in 2013, ’14, and ’16.

Sale finished second in AL Cy Young Award balloting last year and finished ninth for AL MVP. He went 17-8 with a 2.90 ERA and a 308/43 K/BB ratio in 214 1/3 innings. Sale and Clayton Kershaw (2015) are the only pitchers to strike out 300 or more batters in a season dating back to 2003.