I’m going to be starting a new weekly segment here on Baseball Essential, highlighting some of the overlooked and underrated players around the MLB. These will be players who I personally feel are very good, but don’t necessarily get the recognition they deserve. Suggestions are welcome in the comments below.
Anyway, the first player we’re going to focus on is Justin Bour of the Miami Marlins. Coming into this year, I had never heard the name of Justin Bour. He wasn’t a top name prospect, nor was he any kind of established star. The first time I heard the name was in May when the DC native broke up Shelby Miller‘s no-hit bid in the 9th. Looking into him afterwards, it just seemed like he was an injury replacement until Michael Morse returned. Yet here we are, four months later and Michael Morse has been dealt twice while Justin Bour is now the starting 1B in Miami and for good reason. The big man has powered out 23 home runs this year and driven in 71 runs on a terrible Marlins team. Often when you see a player of that stature with that kind of power, he’s a strikeout liability too. The George Mason graduate has gone down on strikes 94 times this season, but has still put up a very respectable .268/.328/.490 slash line. Like most players though, Justin Bour does have his weaknesses. His fielding is below average and he doesn’t run particularly well which isn’t surprising of someone standing at 6’4 and weighing 250 pounds.
It hasn’t been a fun season at all in Miami. After another season of high expectations, the Marlins yet again failed to reach them.
The team has been eaten alive by injuries most notably to Christian Yelich, Dee Gordon, Jose Fernandez (again), and superstar Giancarlo Stanton. Pitching has also been horrible for the Marlins, as the bullpen and rotation have been terribly inconsistent throughout the season. However, there are a lot of bright spots and still reason to be excited. On top of Justin Bour, the Marlins have a plethora of young players who looked poised to help the team bounce back next year if they can stay healthy. Everyone knows about Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Adeiny Hechavarria and Dee Gordon, but it’s the players like Justin Bour, fellow late bloomer Derek Dietrich, and catcher J.T. Realmuto who have the chance to return the Marlins to the playoffs.