- April 22, 2019: Things can get weird when games go 14 innings. In the Angels' 4-3 loss against the Yankees that meant Peter Bourjos playing the infield for the first time in his professional career -- and making a highlight-reel play at second base. Bourjos, who had never played any position other than the outfield in the Major or Minor Leagues -- that's 1,347 games over 13-plus seasons since 2006 -- made his infield debut as the Halos' second baseman in the 13th inning at Angel Stadium.
And as so often seems to happen in baseball, the ball found Bourjos, when Brett Gardner slashed a ground ball into the hole between second and first in the top of the 13th. Bourjos ranged to his left and made a diving stop on the outfield grass, then made the throw to first from his knees just in time to get the speedy Gardner.
"You know, I didn't have to think about it,” Bourjos said after the game. “I think if it was hit right at me, I would've booted it. That way it was a reaction and I could knock it down and get it over there. I was kind of surprised. I don't know."
Bourjos had to play the infield because of an injury to third baseman Zack Cozart, who hurt his head and neck after awkwardly sliding into DJ LeMahieu's leg. The Angels were out of position players, so they had to give up the designated hitter and move Bourjos from the DH spot into the field. Bourjos took over at second base, and Tommy La Stella moved from second to third.
|Birth City:||Park Ridge, IL|
|Draft:||Angels #10 - 2005 - Out of high school (AZ)|
In 1980, Peter's father, Chris Bourjos, had a cup of coffee with the Giants (13 games). He played alongside Vida Blue, Jack Clark, and Johnnie LeMaster. And Chris is now a scout for the Brewers.
During the spring of 2006, Baseball America's Prospect Handbook rated Peter as 24th-best prospect in the Angels organization. In the spring of 2007, they moved him up to #12 in the Angels farm system. And in 2008, he moved up to 9th-best in the Angels organization.
In the winter before 2009 spring training, they moved Bourjos all the way up to third-best prospect in the Angels' farm system. And they moved Peter up once again, to #2 in the Angel organization, in the spring of 2010.
In 2008, Peter led the California League with 50 stolen bases.
In 2009, he led the Texas League in triples with 14. And, managers universally regarded him as the most exciting player in the league.
April 16, 2010: Bourjos matched an 80-year-old Pacific Coast League record when he hit three triples in the same game, but his Salt Lake Bees fell to the visiting Tacoma Rainiers, 13-11 in 10 innings. Then in July 2010, Peter set a PCL record with 56 hits in a month.
August 3, 2010: Peter made his Major League debut with the Angels. And the team just happened to be in Baltimore, the team his father, Chris, is working for as a scout.
"When I told him I got called up and we're playing the Orioles, he said, 'Well, that's unbelievable," said Bourjos. "It was odd because I think growing up [I always thought] about playing against a team my Dad was looking for—and it happens right off the bat."
Bourjos went 0-for-4 and made a couple of nice catches in center field. His father came to Baltimore for the game and when asked who the elder Bourjos rooted for, Peter just laughed.
"It's good that he can be here for that—and my Mom, too," Bourjos said. (Jeff Seidel-MLB.com-8/04/10)
In 2010, Peter was named the second best prospect in the Angels system, the Fastest Baserunner, and the Best Defensive Outfielder by Baseball America.
June 10, 2013: The Angels activated Bourjos from the D.L. Manager Mike Scioscia believes the Angels have their best defensive lineup with Bourjos in center and Mike Trout in left.
"I think it's the whole picture," Scioscia said. "I think you have to look at the whole outfield. Peter gives you a unique dimension in center field and allows you to be stronger on the wings, where they can do more things. We can do things as far as what our spray charts show. Mike does give you that same element in center, but in the big picture, I think it works out better with Peter in center right now and Mike and Josh [Hamilton] at his wings."
November 2014 Wedding: Bourjos got married right in the middle of coming off hip surgery. He said, "It was just stressful leading up to it because I didn't know if I would be off the crutches. On the Monday before the wedding, I got off the crutches and was able to move around pretty well for the wedding. The only two dances I did were with my mom and then with Ashley."
Peter always played shortstop and hit leadoff. Chris Bourjos, Peter's father and a longtime scout, made sure never to make out the lineup card, though. He left those duties to Rob Wrobel, who also played professionally, but never past A ball. Brook Jacoby, an 11-year Major Leaguer, helped out, as well as Bob Brenly, who at the time was still a few years away from leading the Diamondbacks to a World Series title.
Their sons—Peter (Chris's son), Brook Jr. and Torrey (Brook's sons), and Mike (Bob's son)—helped form neighborhood teams, led by their fathers' Major League coaching. Mike played in the Minors before becoming the Red Sox bullpen catcher. Torrey played at Pepperdine before getting injured.
"We did pretty good. It was pretty much just local kids," Chris remembered. "We had a couple of kids that got drafted and signed but didn't get too far. The thing is, we didn't really recruit. We just had neighborhood kids, and we did well. We did very well."
Chris, who was a scout for the Blue Jays but has since moved to the Padres, has also always declined to file scouting reports on his son. As a father with a scout's eye, though, he first noticed Peter's potential around the same time they began to form those summer and winter ball teams. "I remember telling my wife, 'Pete's a prospect.' One thing, he could run. And he could play center," Chris said. "He could already play defensively that good in high school. My wife would say, 'Are you sure?' And I said, 'I'm being real objective.' I knew that summer after his freshman year." (Webeck - MLB.com - 6/16/16)
So Peter Bourjos grew up around baseball. His Dad had played a season in the Majors but quickly moved to scouting, landing his first gig in 1984 with the Blue Jays, where he'd stay for 18 years, running the gamut of roles. "I think he kind of grew up a Blue Jays fan," Chris said with a laugh.
Scouting isn't a 9-to-5 job. Take Chris's upcoming work schedule for example: He'll go from Lake Elsinore, Calif., to Las Vegas, to Richmond, Va., to Hartford, Conn. "He was busy," Peter said. "Spring, obviously with Spring Training games. A lot of times, he'd try to work out his schedule where if we were playing on one side of town in high school, he'd try to match up one of his teams over there."
But Chris will find time to see Peter—stopping in Philadelphia for a game—just like he did growing up. (Webeck - MLB.com - 6/16/16)
Peter would accompany his father, Chris, on summer scouting trips to San Diego and Los Angeles. Living in the Phoenix area, much of Chris's work was on the West Coast, and he'd always try to drive. "We'd drive, I'd pick his brain in the car, and we'd get to watch games and usually get to chase down balls during batting practice," Peter said.
Many of Peter's best memories with his dad came on baseball fields. But Chris made sure never to put the kind of pressure he saw other parents, those who hadn't played pro ball, put on their kids. They packed a bat and some balls on every trip they went on. They hopped fences to take BP. But that was at Peter's urging.
"We all understood that this game is tough," Chris said. "None of us—well, Brook had a decent career and so did Bob—we didn't get there easily. It was hard for all of us. It's amazing how hard it is to find a baseball field to take batting practice on without getting kicked off."
Peter attributes that to the strong relationship the two share in 2016. They talk almost daily, though rarely getting into any mechanics. Chris leaves that, too, to someone who doesn't share his genes. (Webeck - MLB.com - 6/16/16)
2005: Bourjos signed with the Angels in late summer after being drafted in the 10th round, out of Scottsdale High School in Arizona. Scout John Gracio signed him to a bonus of $325,000, keeping Peter from attending Grand Canyon Junior College in Arizona.
November 22, 2013: The Cardinals traded Freese and RHP Fernando Salas to the Angels for Bourjos and OF Randal Grichuk.
December 2, 2015: The Phillies claimed Peter off waivers from St. Louis Cardinals.
Nov 3, 2016: Peter chose free agency.
March 28, 2017: The Rays acquire Peter from the White Sox for cash or PTBNL.
Nov 2, 2017: Peter elected free agency.
Feb. 1, 2018: The Cubs signed Bourjos to a minor league contract.
March 25, 2018: The Braves signed free agent Peter.
May 1, 2018: The Braves signed free agent Peter.
July 2, 2018: Peter elected free agency.
- Nov 16, 2018: The Angels are bringing back outfielder Peter Bourjos on a Minor League deal. Boujos will be in the mix to fill a bench role as the club's fourth outfielder in the 2019 season.
- May 10, 2019: The Angels released Peter.
- Bourjos has been a righthanded hitter all his life, but the Angels lookked at him as a switch-hitter back in 2006. That didn't pan out, however. And Peter bats only from the right side.
- Peter has good bat speed with decent power to the gaps. But he is more of a leadoff hitter. When he learns how to be more effective as a bunter, he will be a more legitimate leadoff man. He also needs to improve his pitch selection.
- Peter somewhat lacks discipline at the plate. He needs to not chase offspeed pitches off the plate.
His funky swing tends to get long and loopy at times. He changes his approach from at-bat to at-bat. Bourjos is too busy in his set-up and lacks balance through his swing, many times. His bad habit of drifting toward the pitcher, failing to keep his hands and weight back, makes him particularly vulnerable to offspeed stuff.
Peter shows power to the gaps when he stays balanced and gets his arms extended. But he still tends to open early and leave himself vulnerable to offspeed pitches. He tends to spin off balls, giving away the outer half and making him susceptible to breaking pitches.
- Bourjos puts pressure on the defense when he is at the plate. They know he can beat out an infield hit. His value comes from his ability to get on base and then mess up the opposing deffense, which has to focus on keeping him from stealing.
- He strikes out too much to be a leadoff hitter. He gets into prolonged slumps. He needs to exhibit more patience at the plate.
In 2011 spring training, Peter worked at the bunting game. The bunt—including just the threat of it—is a weapon that can add several dozen points to his batting average. He'll also force errors on ground balls, with infielders rushing to make the play.
"It's absolutely huge for him," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said, in reference to Bourjos developing his bunting skills. "When he brings in the third baseman and chops it by him, that's a double. It's also a way to contain strikeouts, move a runner, get on base. It can help him—and the offense—in so many ways."
- As of the start of the 2017 season, Peter's career Major League stats were: .243 batting average, 37 home runs, with 149 RBI's in 1,840 at-bats.
Bourjos is an excellent centerfielder. He gets such good reads and jumps on the ball that he seemingly glides over to make the catch.
He has some serious speed, so he covers more ground that about anybody in the Majors.
- In 2006, Orem (Pionner League-Angels) manager Tom Kotchman called him the best center fielder he had coached since Devon White . . . two decades before.
- Peter has a slightly above average arm, making accurate throws.
In the field, Bourjos' speed and outstanding first-step and instincts make him a plus defender in center field. Bourjos gets good reads off the bat and accelerates quickly to track down balls in the gaps. He covers a lot of ground and he can make the acrobatic play if needed. He's a guy who can shrink the field with his ability to run balls down.
Peter is an exciting player to watch play the game.
Peter was very thankful to have Torii Hunter's help with being a Major Leaguer and a center fielder. The Angels put Bourjos in center, moving Hunter to right field, accepting the move suggested by manager Mike Scioscia graciously.
"Torii mentors everybody who comes into the clubhouse, from the clubhouse kids to the players to the manager," Scioscia said. "In this context, he wants Peter to succeed, maybe keep him a little fresher. As a right fielder, maybe he can play more games.
- Bourjos also learned a lot from OF Vernon Wells.
During 2012 spring training, Torii Hunter worked on one more thing with Peter.
"He walks wrong," he said of Bourjos. "It's all wrong."
"Yeah, I know, I'm still working on that," Bourjos admitted. "That's really what they want me to get better at is my swagger more than anything."
But swagger is something you either have or you don't; not really something you can teach. Right?
"Yeah, but he's going to get it," Hunter said. "That's my project right now, to definitely give him that swag, because you get a lot of points just for looking good."
The Angels' outfield trio is definitely entitled to some collective swagger, because together, the three of them are about as good as it gets defensively.
A pair of positive performances at the plate may have won Peter Bourjos a place in the starting lineup, but it was his glove that has him in there for several games.
"It's fun to be a part of an outfield like that where you can take hits away and you can change a game. I think we saw it last night," Bourjos said. "You go out there and you try to make every play you can. It's fun when you make those types of plays. It's on the TV and everybody's texting you, all your buddies. And obviously it was big time in the game to help the team win. That was the most exciting part of it—not the catch, but the situation in the game."
Bourjos hasn't seen the playing time he expected after being dealt to the Cardinals in the winter, but he has changed several games with his glove and his speed. Teammates have nicknamed him 'Sneaky Pete,' because, as Matheny put it, "all of a sudden, the outfielders say, he's right there in their hip pocket." (Jenifer Langosch - MLB.com - 9/5/2014)
- Speed is the best tool Peter has. He runs the 60-yard-dash in 6.5 seconds.
- Bourjos is becoming a very good base-stealer, improving his technique. He watches and learns from guys who are taking proper leads and pitchers and their pickoff moves.
- He is a graceful runner who has solid baserunning instincts. Peter doesn't look like he is running very hard, but he goes from firstt to third with deceptive speed.
- In 2008, he led the California League with 50 stolen bases. And he was successful stealing on 83 percent of his attempts, up from 70 percent before that during his minor league career.
Peter is the fastest player in the Angels organization. (The second fastest is Mike Trout.)
"The only guy I've played with who might have been close to [as fast as] Bourjos was Nathan Haynes," Reggie Willits, another burner, said of the former outfielder. (August 2010)
- May 14-July 22, 2007: Bourjos was on the D.L. for over two months with a ruptured ligament between his middle and ring finger on his left hand. And he broke a bone on the ring finger while taking a swing on a cold night. Surgery was required, so he missed two months of action.
- June 2008: Peter was on the D.L. with a hyperextended left elbow for over a week.
- June 2009: Bourjos was on the D.L. He sprained his left wrist in batting practice and was sidelined for about a week.
- July 7-23, 2011: Peter suffered a strained right hamstring while rounding 2nd base on a double. He immediately had to leave the game. And he went on the D.L. the next day.
- February 27, 2012: Bourjos said he has dealt with right hip problems since he felt something pop in the area while making a throw during instructional league after the 2007 season. He has a frayed labrum and a bone bruise in his right hip. Peter said he will probably get it cleaned out after the 2012 season.
- August 19-September 3, 2012: Peter was on the D.L. with a sore right wrist.
- April 30-June 10, 2013: Bourjos went on the D.L. after injuring his left hamstring while legging out a sacrifice bunt in the top of the 11th of an eventual 10-8, 19-inning loss to the A's.
June 30-August 16, 2013: Peter suffered a broken wrist when he was hit by a pitch from Houston's Jordan Lyles on June 29, 2013. That got him another trip to the D.L.
And, eventually, early in September, Bourjos underwent surgery to repair the crack/break in his wrist, requiring eight weeks of recovery (past the end of the 2013 season).
November 7, 2014: Bourjos underwent right hip surgery to address a previously undisclosed hip impingement that, according to General Manager John Mozeliak, affected Bourjos throughout much of the second half of the 2014 season.
July 28-Aug 12, 2016: Peter was on the DL with right shoulder strain.
- May 29-June 8, 2017: Peter was on the DL with tennis elbow.