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

Since: Oct 7, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2012 2:05 am
 

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

This isnt true... Rays fans were THRILLED that we spent a little money on a big time player. I was at the first spring training game when he got a 60 second standing ovation. We loved Pat the Bat. If he didnt wanna be here, he shouldnt have taken the 16 million dollars and played where he wanted to play. The reason we turned on him is because he started mouthing off to the St Pete Times and (literaly) getting into fights with other Rays in the clubhouse. Oh and hit .220
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. 


breathless7
Since: Jan 31, 2012
Posted on: January 31, 2012 1:22 am
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator




Since: Feb 16, 2009
Posted on: January 31, 2012 12:38 am
 

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

Funny thing after he got that 50 million he was booed more then any phillies player I have ever seen, as i am a die hard fan, it got so out of control the loudest i ever heard someone cheer for him was when he came back and got his world series ring ( I was present for the ring ceremony) . Funny thing is he batted under .200 in playoff games and was not a clutch hitter at all. He had a great arm, but was a below average outfielder and his limited range hurt the phillies till the day he left. I was not a hater of Burrell he was what he was...a longball threat who strike out alot....enjoy retirement you deff should have enough saved up.




Since: Oct 3, 2006
Posted on: January 31, 2012 12:18 am
 

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

After 2002 I thought he had HOF talent. He crushed everything that year and set a career high in slugging, and the Phillies signed him to that big $50 mill deal after that season. Alas, he turned out to be just a good, at times very good player. An earlier poster said he was a pitcher in high school; I believe it. Any Phillies fan will tell you that kid had a CANNON out there in left field his first 5+ years in  the league. If I'm not mistaken he led the league in outfield assists a time or two. I also agree with the poster who said he should push for 300 and 1000. Those numbers would look very nice with his 2 rings.



Since: Jan 28, 2007
Posted on: January 30, 2012 11:59 pm
 

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

8 HRs short of 300

24 RBIs short of 1000

Really???... sack up and play another year...



Since: Nov 27, 2008
Posted on: January 30, 2012 11:39 pm
 

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

He will be missed. Seems too soon, but I guess those last 14 have been nothing but a blur for me.



Since: Jan 29, 2010
Posted on: January 30, 2012 10:59 pm
 

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

sucks to be a Rays fan I guess....Dont be bitter. So he sucked with you, the fans hated him from the start, he didnt care to be there as much as you guys wanted him there. He left as he should have. As for bringing up money, now you are a player hater!!!
This isnt true... Rays fans were THRILLED that we spent a little money on a big time player. I was at the first spring training game when he got a 60 second standing ovation. We loved Pat the Bat. If he didnt wanna be here, he shouldnt have taken the 16 million dollars and played where he wanted to play. The reason we turned on him is because he started mouthing off to the St Pete Times and (literaly) getting into fights with other Rays in the clubhouse. Oh and hit .220

Maybe I am bitter, but it in no way sucks to be a Rays fan. We continue to win and make playoff appearences.

He didnt give us even close to the effort and respect and he gave the other stops on his career.



Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: January 30, 2012 10:54 pm
 

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

sucks to be a Rays fan I guess....Dont be bitter. So he sucked with you, the fans hated him from the start, he didnt care to be there as much as you guys wanted him there. He left as he should have. As for bringing up money, now you are a player hater!!!



Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: January 30, 2012 10:52 pm
 

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

He was a solid baseball player for a long time. He earned my respect as a Phillie. Enjoy retirement Pat!



Since: Jan 29, 2010
Posted on: January 30, 2012 10:30 pm
 

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.

Nice career though.


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