When the first update of the National League Final Vote was announced, Michael Bourn had a lot of ground to make up. The Atlanta Braves outfielder saw his teammate Chipper Jones at the top of the list, but that didn't last for long. Jones was selected to the All Star team as an injury replacement, vacating his spot at the top of the standings for the Final Vote. When Major League Baseball announced the latest update, Bourn was two spots higher than he was the day before and hoping to get picked by the fans.
Of the four candidates remaining in the NL, Bourn is the most deserving of the selection. He has the highest average of the remaining players (.305), most runs (56, fifth in majors) and most stolen bases (23, third in majors). Coming into action on July 4, Bourn was third in the league in hits with 103 and has a .799 OPS.
I know that the Final Vote contest is all about the fans from each team picking their own players, but the fans without a player need to look at the overall impact of each player. Bryce Harper has created a stir in Washington and could be on his way to a Rookie of the Year award, but he hasn't played long enough to warrant the spot. David Freese and Aaron Hill haven't had the same impact with their teams as Harper or Bourn and should be left out.
What Bourn has done for the Braves since coming to the team at the 2011 trade deadline is become their offensive hero. Not since the younger days of Andruw Jones have the Braves had a quality defensive option in center field and not since the days of Rafael Furcal have they had a leadoff hitter who changes the way the game is played on the base paths.
Bourn may not end up earning his second career All Star appearance in the Final Vote, but if another player pulls out, he should be at the top of the list of replacements.
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Hobson Lopes has been a life-long Atlanta Braves fan, thanks to TBS, and can be followed on Twitter @HobsonLopes.