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Michael/Male/26-30. Lives in United States/Pennsylvania/Wexford/Christopher Wren, speaks English. Spends 20% of daytime online. Uses a Fast (128k-512k) connection. And likes baseball /politics.
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United States, Pennsylvania, Wexford, Christopher Wren, English, Michael, Male, 26-30, baseball , politics.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Pat's Back! 

Since he has drafted by the team in 1999, Pat Burrell’s rise and fall within the Phillies system has been closely watched by everyone. Widely seen as Mike Schmidt’s heir apparent (especially after former heir apparent Scott Rolen was dealt to the Cards in 2002), Burrell has been the endless topic of conversation and speculation. From his break-out season in 2002, to his horrific collapse in 2003, to his struggles to regain his form in 2004, fans, pundits and bloggers have argued whether Burrell is the team's superstar or someone who failed to live up to his potential.

Let's look at the first six games of the season and compare them to Games 1-6 for the last three years:

Games 1-6 (2005): 6 XBH’s (3 2B, 3 HR); .483 OBP; .960 SLG
Games 1-6 (2004): 1 XBH’s (1 2B); .440 OBP; .401 SLG
Games 1-6 (2003): 2 XBH’s (2 2B); .250 OBP; .240 SLG
Games 1-6 (2002): 3 XBH’s (2 2b, 1 HR); .292 OBP; .524 SLG

(I'm not including last night's 1-for-4 with a home run in these numbers.)

What a difference two years make! Burrell is off to a fast start, getting 15 RBIs in just 25 AB's. This is the best start Burrell has had (pre-2002) and a marked contrast to last year, when he failed to hit a home run for his first eight games. Burrell 2005 is mashing the ball like it is nobody's business: a .960 slugging percentage is Barry Bonds territory. Last year we were all relieved to see Burrell hit again, but surprised he hit for so little power. This year feels different. Burrell looks like a 40 HR, 120 RBI guy.

Burrell has also keyed the Phillies to their impressive start at the plate: the Phillies are leading the NL in runs scored with 43. Note that Burrell did this against a team with better than average pitching, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Random note: I was looking at The Hardball Times 2005 stat page on Monday and I noticed that the Braves were averaging just 2.7 runs a game. I know they've faced off with some decent pitching, but this backs up something I said in the preseason: these guys are going to have trouble scoring runs in 2005. They need Hudson and Smoltz to have good seasons or they are in trouble. Despite the Marlins record, I still think they are the toughest team in this division, bar none.

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