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NL West Report: The Legend of Sean Burroughs

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Sean Burroughs was born to hit.  One never knows with prospects, but this guy - this guy - clearly had Hall of Fame talent written all over him before he even reached the majors. He was borne and bred a baseball player.  His father was the 1974 American League MVP.  He pitched for the Little League World Series champions in 1992 and 1993 and even made an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman.

The San Diego Padres selected him 9th overall in the 1998 draft, convincing Burroughs to forgo a scholarship offer and USC.  The left-handed hitter was a top ten overall prospect three years running according to Baseball America, peaking at #4 in 2002 at age 21.  

The scouting reports were glowing.  There were doubts about his power, but not his ability to hit a baseball.  If his power developed, he was George Brett.  If it didn't, he was Wade Boggs.  

Burroughs debuted at the age of 21 with San Diego and struggled, but in his first full season as a starter, he put up an above average line of .286/.352/.402 (105 OPS+)  at the age of 22 in 2003.  In the first game in PetCo Park history, in 2004, Burroughs hit a walkoff single.  He continued to push a .300 batting average and .350 batting average, but the power never came.  

In an era where home runs still reigned supreme (especially at third base), Burroughs tried to hit more long balls.  Said teammate Geoff Blum:

 "He took a bigger swing. He was striking out more, not putting the ball in play as often and not working counts. That's not him at all."

Burroughs made his last MLB appearance on May 4, 2006.  Just four games into the 2007 season in AAA, the 26-year-old former legend left the game.  

Why is this pertinent?   Because Sean Burroughs is back in the big leagues.  The itch returned, so he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks this spring.  Starting third baseman Melvin Mora went on the bereavement list this week, Geoff Blum is on the disabled list, and Ryan Roberts is playing a lot of second base with Kelly Johnson struggling.  So Kevin Towers called up Burroughs, who had hit .386/.484/.571 in 27 games for the AAA Reno Aces.  


Forget Brandon Wood - could Ian Stewart be the next Sean Burroughs?  The similarities are startling:

  • Burroughs was drafted ninth overall by an NL West team out of high school and peaked as Baseball America's #4 overall prospect.  Stewart was drafted tenth overall by an NL West team out of high school and peaked as Baseball America's #4 overall prospect. 
  •  Burroughs got called up at 21 and struggled, then had his best season of his career the following year.  Stewart got called up at 22 and struggled, then had the best season of his career the following year.
  • Burroughs slowly sloped off and made his last MLB appearance at the age of 25 in his fifth season, a year in which he had just 5 total bases.  Stewart has slowly sloped off.  This is his fifth MLB season at the age of 26, and he has just 4 total bases.
  • Burroughs' career OPS+ was 90, and his career wRC+ was 91.  Stewart's current career OPS+ is 91, and his career wRC+ is 90.


Take the jump for news on all the teams.  

NL West Report

Arizona (20-23, 3rd, W3, 4.0 GB)

Last Week: 5-2.  2-1 @ Dodgers.  1-1 vs. Padres.  2-0 vs. Braves.  It was a wildly successful week for Arizona, who went 3-1 in one run affairs.

You Should Know:  Kevin Towers wanted to get rid of strikeouts, so he dealt Mark Reynolds and let Adam LaRoche go.  Still, the Diamondbacks are home to the NL's strikeout leader - Kelly Johnson, with 53.

Divisional Change: Gained 1.5 games and moved into third place.

This Week: 3 game home series vs. Twins.  4 game road series @ Rockies.  Ian Kennedy pitches two games this week, and whoever they choose to pitch Saturday will also pitch Thursday at Coors Field, likely opposed by Clayton Mortensen.

News:  Josh Collmenter is having tremendous success in the Diamondbacks' rotation.  He has made two starts, throwing six shutout innings with just two hits and no walks allowed in each.

Josh Collmenter

#55 / Pitcher / Arizona Diamondbacks





Feb 07, 1986

2011 - Josh Collmenter 3-0 9 2 0 0 0 0 26.0 12 2 2 1 1 15 0.69 .50

Tim Dierkes puts up a lot of good features for MLB Trade Rumors.  This week, he outlined what Arizona might do if they become sellers.  Kelly Johnson, Stephen Drew and Joe Saunders are potential trade chips.

With Armando Galarraga designated for assignment, Arizona has an opening in their rotation tomorrow.  As of this writing, Kevin Towers hasn't decided who will start.

Bob Melvin managed the Diamondbacks to the 2007 NLCS, but he didn't last much longer.  There apparently isn't any bad blood about his dismissal though, at least none with the remaining members of the Arizona brass.  It was announced this week that Melvin has returned to the team as a special baseball advisor to CEO Derrick Hall.

General manager Jerry DiPoto personally scouted Bubba Starling.

You must be curious how D-backs fans reacted to the Sean Burroughs promotion.  Here is AZSnakepit's reaction.

Transactions: DFA'd RHP Armando Gallaraga.  Placed 3B Melvin Mora on the bereavement list.  Released LHP Ron Mahay.  

Injuries:  Activated UT Willie Bloomquist from the 15-day DL.  Zach Duke will pitch in a rehab start on  Monday with a pitch count of 90.

Arizona Diamondbacks Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Zach Duke hand 03/22/2011
Geoff Blum knee 03/22/2011

Bereavement List

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Melvin Mora other-excused 05/18/2011

Los Angeles (20-25, 4th, L2, 5.0 GB)

Last Week: 2-5. 1-2 vs. Diamondbacks.  1-1 vs. Brewers.  0-2 vs. Giants.  The Giants swept the Dodgers by virtue of a tie-breaking ninth inning home run (Wednesday) and a caught sinking line drive with the bases loaded (Thursday).

You Should Know:  Left field and first base have been black holes in the offense.   Left field has a .202/.276/.294 (65 sOPS+) line and with first base at .233/.276/.273 (45 sOPS+).  They have combined for just one home run.

Divisional Change:  Lost one game in the division and fell into fourth place.

This Week:  3 game road series @ White Sox.  3 game road series @ Astros.

News:   It was the Rockies and Huston Street who were supposed to be fragile at the closer position.  Now, the Dodgers not only have their closer (Jonathan Broxton) on the disabled list, but their backup closer (Vicente Padilla) is now on the shelf.  Instead, they will close by ugly committee.

Vicente Padilla

#44 / Pitcher / Los Angeles Dodgers





Sep 27, 1977

2011 - Vicente Padilla 0-0 9 0 0 0 3 0 8.2 7 4 4 0 5 9 4.15 1.38

Frank McCourt claims the Dodgers roster would be the same even without the financial problems. As ridiculous as that sounds, that might be true.  Ned Colletti spent a lot of money in free agency this offseason, and the Dodgers payroll jumped from $102million to a franchise high $119million this season.

Meanwhile, his estranged ex wife Jamie McCourt is calling for the immediate sale of the Dodgers.

The Dodgers' offense is terrible.  They have scored one run or less in 8 of 17 May games.

Bryan Stow, the Giants' fan who was savagely beaten at Dodger Stadium opening day, opened his eyes this week for the first time.

Los Angeles' top prospect Zach Lee is having a very strong year in A-ball.

Transactions:  Recalled RHP Ramon Troncoso (5/19).

Injuries: Casey Blake should begin a rehab assignment tonight.  Rafael Furcal is eligible to return Monday.  Marcus Thames is eligible to return today, but he has yet to be activated.  Vicente Padilla was placed on the disabled list yesterday with a  forearm strain.  Jonathan Broxton played catch on Monday.

Los Angeles Dodgers Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Casey Blake elbow 04/25/2011
Vicente Padilla forearm 05/14/2011
Marcus Thames quadriceps 05/03/2011
Rafael Furcal thumb 04/12/2011
Jonathan Broxton elbow 05/04/2011
Hong-Chih Kuo other-excused 05/10/2011
Blake Hawksworth groin 05/11/2011

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Hector Gimenez knee 04/09/2011


San Diego (19-25, 5th, W1, 5.5 GB)

Last Week: 4-3.  2-1 @ Rockies. 1-1 @ Diamondbacks.  1-1 vs. Brewers.  After scoreing at least six runs in six consecutive games, the Padres have scored just four runs in their last three games.

You Should Know:  Jason Bartlett tied a franchise record with nine consecutive games with an RBI.  It was the longest streak in MLB since his teammate set the MLB record with 14 games with Florida in 2009-10.

Divisional Change: Gained one half game in the division.

This Week: 3 game home series vs. Mariners.  3 game home series vs. Cardinals.  Matt Latos gets two starts this week.

News:   Dustin Moseley is having one of those seasons that starters have when appearing at PetCo Park.  Dave Gershman looked at his trade value.

Dustin Moseley

#26 / Pitcher / San Diego Padres





Dec 26, 1981

2011 - Dustin Moseley 1-6 9 9 0 0 0 0 53.0 53 24 20 4 16 25 3.40 1.30
Bud Black is concerned about the Padres defense.  Should he be?  On one hand, San Diego has the 3rd most errors in MLB.  On the other, they have the 3rd best UZR.
I wrote last week that Randy Flores could opt out of his contract on Sunday if he didn't get called up to the big club.  He did just that, then signed with the Yankees.

Transactions:   Optioned IF Logan Forsythe to AAA Tucson (5/17).  Recalled RP Pat Neshek (5/17).  Optioned RHP Evan Schribner to AAA Tucson (5/19).

Injuries: Activated 2B Orlando Hudson from the 15-day DL.  Nick Hundley caught a bullpen session Saturday and will return in about a week.  

San Diego Padres Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Will Venable fingers 05/19/2011


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Nick Hundley oblique 05/05/2011

60 Day DL / Out for the season

Player Injury Type Injury Date
Joe Thatcher shoulder 03/22/2011
Mike Baxter thumb 03/22/2011


San Francisco (24-19, 1st, W2)

Last Week: 3-3.  1-1 @ Cubs, 0-2 @ Rockies, 2-0 @ Dodgers.  Thanks a lot Dodgers.

You Should Know:   The Giants have 14 road wins, tied with Tampa Bap for most in MLB.

Divisional Change:  Lost one half game on their division lead.

This Week:  3 game home vs. Athletics. 3 game home series vs. Brewers.  The Giants' offense will have to face Trevor Cahill, Brett Anderson, Gio Gonzalez, Ricky Nolasco, Chris Volstad and perhaps Anibal Sanchez.

News:  Sean Burroughs and Albert Pujols are playing third base in the majors these days.  It's like 2003 all over again.  By the way, Aubrey Huff started 85 games at third base each in 2004 and 2006.  Huff playing third with Pablo Sandoval isn't THAT much of a stretch.  Huff is willing to play third base if the Giants ask.  Grant at McCovey Chronicles weighs in on the idea, with a golden photo caption.

Aubrey Huff

#17 / First Base / San Francisco Giants





Dec 20, 1976

2011 - Aubrey Huff 41 149 13 34 10 0 4 20 14 33 2 1 .228 .289 .376
The Giants got some sort of Team of the Year Award by virtue of their World Series title.  How special.
Many Giants fans questioned Bruce Bochy leaving Jonathan Sanchez in the eighth inning in the game Tuesday at Coors Field.  Most agreed Sanchez should have pitched.

Transactions:   Recalled IF Emmanuel Burriss from AAA Fresno (5/19).

Injuries:   Mark DeRosa was placed on the 15-day DL with a sore wrist (5/19).  He is out indefinitely.

San Francisco Giants Injuries


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Aaron Rowand back 05/19/2011
Brian Wilson ankle 05/19/2011


Player Injury Type Injury Date
Barry Zito foot 04/17/2011
Pablo Sandoval hand 04/30/2011