Blog Entry

Same old Burrell?

Posted on: April 7, 2008 11:13 pm
Edited on: May 8, 2008 7:45 pm
 
Sometimes I need to take my own advice.

A quick look at Pat Burrell's stats last year makes you think he had a typical Pat Burrell year. He hit .256 with 30 home runs -- nothing special there, right?

Wrong.

His low batting average came about because of a particularly poor first half, but he hit .295 in the second half, and his peripheral stats during that time -- during the whole season, really -- indicate that he changed something in his approach at the plate.

He finished with 114 walks and 120 strikeouts -- a 1-to-1 ratio.

Only a few players in baseball put up a 1-to-1 ratio on a yearly basis. I'll list some of them off the top of my head:

Manny Ramirez
Lance Berkman
Carlos N. Lee
Chipper Jones
Gary Sheffield
J.D. Drew
Hideki Matsui
Travis Hafner
David Ortiz
Frank Thomas
Nick Johnson
Conor Jackson
Brian Roberts
Jose B. Reyes
Vladimir Guerrero
Nick Swisher

OK, so there's a few less-than-elite types mixed in there, but for the most part, Burrell is in some pretty good company. But here's the thing: He joined that list for the first time last year. Before then, he had always whiffed at an Adam Dunn-like rate.

I originally made this observation in the offseason, but then, seeing no one else buying into it, quickly dismissed it as nothing more than a statistical anomaly. I didn't end up drafting Burrell in any of my leagues.

So far this season, after going deep twice Monday, Burrell is hitting .435 with three home runs.

And you guessed it: four walks and four strikeouts.

Maybe I'm making too much of the ratio. Maybe he's just beginning the season on a hot streak. But maybe that second half was legit. The ratio sure says something to support it.

I'll never claim I can predict the future for any player, but right now, I wish I had nabbed Burrell in at least one of my Fantasy leagues so I could see first hand if I was right in the first place.

That's all for now.
Category: MLB
Comments

Since: Feb 26, 2008
Posted on: April 8, 2008 9:36 pm
 

Same old Burrell?

Good points, d-bag.



Since: Jan 25, 2008
Posted on: April 8, 2008 1:07 pm
 

Same old Burrell?

From a fantasy perspective:

You should have a baseline expectation and in his case it's HR's and RBI's where he will help you and batting avergae where he could drain you.  That being said a successful fantasy owner is one that can find a potential breakout while not taking a major risk.  I believe Burrell fits that model as well as anyone this year this side of Nick Swisher.  The thing about Burrell is his upside is absolutely huge.

I woudln't be the least bit surprised to see him put up a line of this year of 35 HR's, 120 RBI's and a .270 average.  That should be fantasy gold in most leagues where he wouldn't be that high of a cost.




Since: Dec 14, 2007
Posted on: April 8, 2008 12:01 pm
 

Same old Burrell?

If anything, Fantasy has made Burrell one of the more underrated players in baseball. People tend to think of him as some kind of joke, when he's clearly not.Obviously you didn't have him on your fantasy team to start 2007. I did. He was terrible. Lucky I dumped him in June and picked up Reggie "what you talkin bout" Willits. That saved my fantasy season. Them Burrell goes on to have a great second half. Thanks, but no thanks. I avoided him at all costs in this years drafts.



Since: Feb 23, 2008
Posted on: April 8, 2008 4:00 am
 

Same old Burrell?

With Burrell, you know what you are going to get: 30 HR, 95 RBI, and a .260 average.  It's hard to be angry with that stat line, but whether you own the Phillies or you only own a fantasy team, carrying a guy that bats .215 in first half and then .295 in the second half is very frustrating.  I appreciate your efforts to come up with new ways to evaluate a player, but if I'm looking for a player to pick up, I prefer someone with a more reliable performance throughout the season. 

If Burrell can stay healthy and get over 500 AB again, then we could see his numbers reach 35-40 HR and 110-120 RBI (aka, 2002 and 2005), which would put him back amongst the top outfielders in the game.  At 31, Burrell may perform well for another 5+ years, but I'm guessing his best years are behind him.  Unfortunately, I don't think last year's 1-to-1 ratio and a new approach can save him from that.

Baseball Jones ~~ Hustling since 1980




Since: Feb 8, 2008
Posted on: April 8, 2008 3:19 am
 

Same old Burrell?

Baseball Jones --

Makes sense. I pretty much came to the same conclusion, which is why I didn't end up with Burrell in any of my leagues. Until we get through a good portion of this season, though, there's room to wonder.

But you can't say his first half last year didn't drain his overall batting average. The Pat Burrell of last year's second half was not the same .259-hitting Pat Burrell of old. Now, if you want to argue that his great second half was simply a normalization to the mean, I can accept that argument and even agree that it's the most likely possibility. But I like to keep an open mind. Even veterans find ways to break out.

Shermboat19 --

Couldn't disagree with you more. Do you realize Burrell has a career on-base percentage of .368 and an OPS of .851? Those numbers rank him 35th and 37th among active players, which is particularly impressive considering he has a relatively low batting average of .259.

If anything, Fantasy has made Burrell one of the more underrated players in baseball. People tend to think of him as some kind of joke, when he's clearly not.



Since: Dec 14, 2007
Posted on: April 7, 2008 11:54 pm
 

Same old Burrell?

Burrell brings consistent production, but if he's on my fantasy team right now, I'm selling high and bringing in a player that will average more than just 129 hits and 500 AB per season.

Agreed. "Marginal at best" comes to mind. So overrated.




Since: Feb 23, 2008
Posted on: April 7, 2008 11:45 pm
 

Same old Burrell?

After looking at his career stats (687 BB, 1141 SO), I'm ready to conclude that Pat Burrell's 1-to-1 BB-to-SO ratio last year was just an aberration.  I would also suggest that his low batting average came about not because of a poor first half, but because he's a career .259 hitter.  Burrell brings consistent production, but if he's on my fantasy team right now, I'm selling high and bringing in a player that will average more than just 129 hits and 500 AB per season.

But to go back to your original point, I agree that keeping BB and SO at similar levels can be a sign of a successful hitter.  Now, although Maicer Izturis of the Angels would not normally come up in the conversation of successful hitters, he actually has very close to a 1-to-1 ratio in each of the past two season.  I recently did an analysis of his offensive production and found some interesting parallels to former Angel Adam Kennedy:   

Baseball Jones ~~ Hustling since 1980

 



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