Blog Entry

Retiring Burrell stacks up well vs. other No. 1s

Posted on: January 30, 2012 2:50 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2012 4:45 pm
 





























Pat Burrell had a better career than you think. In fact, "Pat the Bat" had a better career than the vast majority of the other No. 1 overall draft picks, maybe 75 percent of the overall No. 1s, or maybe even more than that.

Of the first 34 overall No. 1s, from Rick Monday in 1965 by the A's to Burrell in 1998 by the Phillies, only five clearly had a better career than Burrell. That would be Ken Griffey Jr. (1987, Mariners), Alex Rodriguez (1993, Mariners), Chipper Jones (1990, Braves), Harold Baines (1977, White Sox) and Darryl Strawberry (1980, Mets). That's three out of 34 with Hall of Fame resumes, one with an extremely long and productive career and a fifth who probably should have been going to Cooperstown. Burrell falls into the next group of nine who had very nice careers but far short of great. But he's probably at or near the top of that group, so while he never became a superstar or even made an All-Star team, he was a solid first selection, certainly a lot more solid than most top picks.

The other eight No. 1 overalls I'd put into that good-but-not-great category would be Jeff Burroughs (1969, Senators), Bob Horner (1978, Braves), B.J. Surhoff (1985, Brewers), Andy Benes (1988, Padres), Phil Nevin (1992, Astros), Tim Belcher (1983, Twins), Shawon Dunston (1982, Cubs) and Mike Moore (1981, Mariners). I'd rank Burrell seventh overall, just behind Monday at No. 6 but ahead of the others in this group -- though, if someone wants to reorder the players within that group I wouldn't necessarily quibble. Burrell could be eighth, ninth or 10th, but he's clearly in the top third, at the very worst.

Shawon Dunston has a pretty good case to be at or near the top of this second group, too, with 150 home runs and an all-time shortstop arm in a 20-year career, but I'd put him just below Burrell. Benes has really solid stats, with a 155-139 record and 3.97 ERA, but he didn't have as much impact as Burrell. Burroughs and Horner has similar careers to each other, with some high highs (an MVP in Burroughs' case) but either not quite as much length or consistency. Surhoff was versatile and a high average hitter (.282) but he's more famous for having been picked ahead of Barry Bonds, Barry Larkin and Will Clark in that stellar '85 draft.

Burrell, who CBSSports.com has confirmed will retire (Tim Dierkes of @mlbtraderumors first reported the news), hit 292 home runs, twice finished in the top 14 in MVP voting and was a key contributor on two World Series winning teams, the 2008 Phillies and 2010 Giants (although the '10 World Series wasn't his finest hour). Burrell was a prodigious and consistent power hitter for the Phillies, and he had a very respectable .834 OPS for his career.

It's amazing how many of the overall No. 1 picks, especially the early ones, simply did not deliver. Danny Goodwin, a marginal major leaguer, was twice a No. 1 pick overall pick. David Clyde was the biggest-hyped high school pitcher maybe ever. Mike Ivie never became the big slugger some figured he might be. Tim Foli was a notable scrapper, but at some point , big-league scouts figured it wasn't worth taking a scrapper No. 1 overall.

Only two of the 34 No. 1s overall never played in the big leagues, Steve Chilcott (1966, Mets) and Brien Taylor (1991, Yankees). Chilcott was an incredible miscalculation, and was a mistake that is illuminated by the man picked right behind him, Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson. Taylor never regained his 99-mph fastball or any of his early promise after injuring his left shoulder defending his brother in a bar fight after he signed a record $1.55-million contract after a negotiation depicted by "60 Minutes'' and a couple impressive minor-league seasons. Shawn Abner, Matt Anderson and Al Chambers were busts in their own right.

Counting the ignominious New York picks Chilcott and Taylor, 19 No. 1 overall picks from '65 to '98 clearly had inferior careers to Burrell's (at least in my mind). And while that may say something about the crapshoot aspect of the amateur draft, some bad early picks before scouting improved or something else entirely, Burrell can't be considered any sort of disappointment, no matter how you measure it.
Category: MLB
Comments
bucsdude18
Since: Jun 5, 2011
Posted on: January 31, 2012 3:33 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Jan 29, 2010
Posted on: January 31, 2012 3:26 am
 

Retiring Burrell stacks up well vs. other No. 1s

Yea at the end of my rant, I wrote "nice career though". I figured everyone would realize what I had written was in jest.



Since: Dec 31, 2008
Posted on: January 31, 2012 3:22 am
 

Retiring Burrell stacks up well vs. other No. 1s

Thanks for the kind words, but I actually wrote that pos post earlier today. But like I said, It was written as a joke. I didnt expect people to jump all over it lol


See, if I wouldve seen it was your post, I wouldnt have taken it the same way I did when I saw an account that was just made today saying it. It just seemed like someone making a troll account to start s***. I guess I should look into it before I post, but just finding out it was you changes my opinion of the post all together. Big difference between a guy whose been here over a year and an account made today posting in double sized bold font...

My mistake, dude, I really just dont like it when people seriously wish bad health on another person, but if you say you werent even being serious, which I believe, than it was just a misunderstanding.



Since: Dec 31, 2008
Posted on: January 31, 2012 3:10 am
 

Retiring Burrell stacks up well vs. other No. 1s

I find this post hilarious. One, if you think Carlos Pena, who spent hours in children's hospitals and took out an add in the paper thanking the Rays for giving him a chance when nobody else would, is a cocky player, then you dont know anything about the Rays at all.
Raysdude, while I get what youre saying, 99% of athletes do the same thing as a PR move and a huge tax write off. Not only that, but just because they didnt get along doesnt mean either one of them is neccesarily a 'bad' or egotistical guy. Some people just dont get along, there are plenty of people Ive met who I just didnt care for, and for no real reason. Our personalities just didnt mesh. I could be wrong, but I dont see Burrel or Pena being jerks, Id guess they just dont see eye to eye on other things, and it spilled over onto the field. It happens. Its not like watching two of the biggest jerks, Bonds and Jeff Kent, get into it. In that case, you know theyre both full of themselves. Pena and Burrel are decent guys, who knows what happened (also - was it those two who got into it? I seem to remember it being Burrel and someone else, but could be wrong). Sometimes, things just dont work out, I doubt he has any hard feelings toward the Rays.

And whoever said the Rays didnt deserve to be there needs to put the crack pipe down. They won the AL East over two of the biggest spenders in MLB, both of which had loaded clubs. Boston had just won a world series, and didnt even make the postseason. It took a while, but the Rays made those high draft picks pay off. The most certainly deserved to be there.



Since: Jan 29, 2010
Posted on: January 31, 2012 3:03 am
 

Retiring Burrell stacks up well vs. other No. 1s

Not you raysdude, I have nothing negative to say about you. I was reffering to the low level troll that said he hated that POS and wished him bad health, yada yada yada...

Youre entitled to your own opinion, I just think its naive when people take it to another level - like sending death threats to Kyle Williams. Your post was fine, youre entitled to your opinion, and Ive seen you here long enough to know you arent some schmuck. This newbie with the big mouth is taking it too far, IMO.

Sorry for the confusion, but I meant no disrespect to you whatsoever.

Thanks for the kind words, but I actually wrote that pos post earlier today. But like I said, It was written as a joke. I didnt expect people to jump all over it lol



Since: Dec 31, 2008
Posted on: January 31, 2012 2:32 am
 

Retiring Burrell stacks up well vs. other No. 1s

Not you raysdude, I have nothing negative to say about you. I was reffering to the low level troll that said he hated that POS and wished him bad health, yada yada yada...

Youre entitled to your own opinion, I just think its naive when people take it to another level - like sending death threats to Kyle Williams. Your post was fine, youre entitled to your opinion, and Ive seen you here long enough to know you arent some schmuck. This newbie with the big mouth is taking it too far, IMO.

Sorry for the confusion, but I meant no disrespect to you whatsoever.




Since: Jan 29, 2010
Posted on: January 31, 2012 2:28 am
 

Retiring Burrell stacks up well vs. other No. 1s

Do yourself a favor, and A) a clue and B) a life. Pat Burrel was never a .300/30HR hitter, he was what he was - nothing more, nothing less. Do you honestly think he struck out on purpose, or didnt want to get a hit when it mattered most? Come on,  
You people do realize my post was written in jest right? Jesus. I dont "hate" a baseball player ive never met.



Since: Dec 31, 2008
Posted on: January 31, 2012 2:26 am
 

Retiring Burrell stacks up well vs. other No. 1s

I postively despise this POS. He hits the game winning double against the Rays in the 08 WS, takes 16 million dollars from them, a HUGE contract from a team like TB, and does nothing but strike out and start fist fights in the clubhouse, crys his way out of town, goes to San Francisco and has a career resurgance and wins another ring. I wish him nothing but ill in his post retirment activities


Do yourself a favor, and A) a clue and B) a life. Pat Burrel was never a .300/30HR hitter, he was what he was - nothing more, nothing less. Do you honestly think he struck out on purpose, or didnt want to get a hit when it mattered most? Come on,  




Since: Jan 29, 2010
Posted on: January 31, 2012 2:23 am
 

Retiring Burrell stacks up well vs. other No. 1s

Pat was NOT a big time player, the reason you even got him for 16M was because nobody else would have spent that on him. You complain about .220 average like it was out of nowhere when he only wound up .256 career. And you are right, Pat did not want to be a Ray, but he is too competitive to not try. The cocky clubhouse with guys like Garza and Pena refused to accept the guy. Blame your team on any misfortune you had. The Rays had no business even being in that WS, which is why they haven't been back since.
I find this post hilarious. One, if you think Carlos Pena, who spent hours in children's hospitals and took out an add in the paper thanking the Rays for giving him a chance when nobody else would, is a cocky player, then you dont know anything about the Rays at all.

No buisness being in the World Series? I guess I must have missed the fact that they won the ALCS over the defending World Champions and won 97 games in the toughest division in baseball. That comment was offcially retarded. Congratulations.



Since: Dec 31, 2008
Posted on: January 31, 2012 2:21 am
 

Retiring Burrell stacks up well vs. other No. 1s

I tip my cap to Pat the Bat, and even though he didnt set the world on fire during his time here, I honestly think he did the best he could, he never complained, and I ran into him at a bar here in SF and he was as nice as can be (he bought me and some friends a round, and came back by before he left to shake my hand and say good bye - even remembered my name).

In my book, classiness goes a long way, and he was a pro in more ways than one. I'll always remember Bonds for what he did on the field, but Barry also told me and about 100 other people to, and I quote, 'get a f***ing life' at a spring training game when we asked for an autograph in 2004/5 (cant remember which, my brother and I go every year). There were even kids there, I cant even imagine how pissed Id be if he said that to my son. I've met a lot of pro ball players, most of them are douchbags. My dad met Joe Montana the day before an NFCCG here in the city, and all he said was 'Joe Im a huge 49er fan, and I just want to wish you luck tomorrow' and stuck out his hand for a handshake. Montana looked at him like he was dirt, didnt make any attempt to shake his hand, and walked away.My dads an SF firefighter, and was dressed in full uniform. Its not like we're trailor trash and he was asking Montana to give him money or sign his overalls... Mays, while probably the greatest 5 tool player, is a well known jerk, and rarely says anything that doesnt A)make him sound like the absolute greatest ever, while B) putting someone else down (the likes of Bob Gibson no less).

Am I dissapointed that he was little more than an average, sometimes even below average, player during his time with the Giants? Sure, but like someone said, he is what he is. I would never accuse the guy of taking a play off or not giving his all, though - ever. All while being a class act and a role model you can actually enjoy your kids looking up to. 8 HR/24RBI away from 300/1000 tells you right there he isnt ok with collecting a check to add some personal milestones to his career, and I think its because he knows he cant really do it anymore. I wont miss his .200 BA, or his habitual K's and weak dribblers for a double play, but while he's far behind most guys in stats, 99% of pro athletes arent even in his league when it comes to class. Take care, Pat, and thanks for everything you tried to do for us.


The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com