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Meet Michael Bourn, The Braves New Star In Center Field

Michael Bourn may not be a big name, but he is one of the best outfielders in baseball. And now he's with the Braves.

Michael Bourn may not be known around baseball as a superstar. He should be, though.

There are many aspects of Bourn's game that make him such a valuable player. Whether it's his fine approach at the plate, blistering speed on the base paths, phenomenal range in the outfield or his reputation as one of the better clubhouse guys around, he brings everything to the table each and every day he shows up to the park.

"Michael Bourn is a perfect fit for our club, which focuses on speed and defense to match up with our strong pitching," Braves general manager Frank Wren said. "This trade gives us the first true leadoff hitter we've had in a number of years."

Among qualified players since the 2009 season, Bourn ranks fifth among center fielders in batting average (.283), fifth in on-base percentage (.352), seventh in wRC+ (109), first in stolen bases (152), and -- most importantly -- first in WAR with 13.3 "wins" in that time span.

WAR (Wins Above Replacement) may not be one of the more traditional stats used by fans of the game, but it essentially judges how good a player is compared to a league-average player. With today's current market, one of those wins goes for about $5 million on the open market.

Basically, the Braves just acquired a player who has been worth $57.5 million dollars since 2009. That's more than Curtis Granderson. That's more than Shane Victorino. That's more than Josh Hamilton. To put it simply, Michael Bourn is a superstar and one of the best outfielders in baseball. And we got him for spare parts at the trade deadline.

Braves fans are absolutely going to love their new center fielder. His smile is contagious and he flies around the bases faster than just about anyone in baseball. He will serve as our first traditional leadoff man since Rafael Furcal departed years ago and he will be with the club through the entire 2012 season. This is a perfect fit.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.