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Pat Burrell vs. Mike Schmidt Monday March 3rd, 2008

Posted by Sean in Minor Leagues, Pat Burrell, Phillies, Phillies Farm teams, Ryan Howard.
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Well, it certainly has been a while since I posted, hasn’t it?  Here’s a post I’ve been meaning to do for a while, comparing the current Phillies left fielder to the team’s greatest slugger (as of now).  This post more than makes up for my month-long absence. It’s ~800 words.  Enjoy!Mike Schmidt Pic vs. Pat the Bat

Mike Schmidt was talking about the Phillies during Spring Training a while back, and said the team has four possible MVPs on the rosterRyan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and, surprisingly, Pat “The Bat” Burrell. He has been quoted as saying that “he sees a lot of himself” in the former first rounder.

Here is the comparison of their careers:

Schmidt played from 1972 through 1989, and Burrell came up to the bigs in 2000, and is (obviously) still playing.

First the minor leagues :

Burrell spent 208 games in the minors, over a 3 year period, while Schmidtty spent 205 in only two years.  Amazingly for a second rounder, Schmidt made his pro debut at AA Reading (still affiliated today).  In 1972, he started at the hot corner at AAA Eugene (now with San Diego in Rookie), before debuting in the majors very late in the year.  Burrell, meanwhile, debuted with the then named Clearwater Phillies (Hi A, now named Threshers) in 1998.  He jumped up to AA Reading in 1999, before jumping to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons (now with the NY Yankees).  Burrell never looked back.  He played at S/W-B again in 2000, before debuting with the big team in June of that year. Burrell had his best season statistically in ’99 with Reading.  He hit .333/.438/.631, with 28 home runs, 90 RBIs, 27 walks and only 22 strikeouts.  Where is this Burrell?  Schmidt, though, had his best year with AAA Eugene in ’73.  He hit .291 (OBP and Slugging weren’t calculated for the minors way back then.  If someone wants to calculate it for me, that’d be awesome), with 26 HRs, and 91 RBIs.  Walks and strikeouts unknown.  As you can see, both started their careers off very similarly.  Yet another piece of trivial knowledge, both debuted at positions different than those they played in the majors.  Schmidt played at SS, before moving over to third when he reached the majors for former manager Larry Bowa.  Burrell started out at 3B in college, but was moved over to 1B when he was signed.  He stayed mostly at first through his career until the new millenium with the ‘Barons, when he was used primarily as a outfielder.  The Phillies moved him back to first when he was a Rookie in 2000, because of Ron Gant in left, and a then-unknown Bobby Abreu in RF.

When Schmidt made it to the majors full time in 1973, he was immediately penciled in as the starting third baseman, all the way until his retirement in the 1989 season.  He struggled mightily in ’74, hitting only .196/.324/.373, with only 18 HRs, 52 RBI, 8 stolen bags, 62 walks, and 136 K’s. Burrell, however, did not struggle as bad as Schmidt did in his rookie year.  Burrell hit .260/.359/.463 as a rook, with 18 Homers, 79 runs batted in, 63 walks, and 139 K’s.

Skipping ahead, I’m going to compare their fifth years in the league (1977 for Schmidt, and 2004 for Burrell).  It appears that the Schmidtter finally got the rhythm of the bigs at this point, as he set or tied most of his career statistics, except in hits, doubles, ribbies, stolen bases, and average.  Line: .274/.393./.574, 38 dingers, 101 runs belted in, 15 bags, 104 walks, and 122 whiffs.  Burrell, as everyone remembers, was having a mediocre season. .257/.365/.455, 24 homers, 84 RBI, 78 base on balls, and 130 K’s.  Like I said, mediocre.  *On a side note, this was year one of Burrell’s ridiculous contract.  He had a $3 million pay increase from 03 to 04 (4.25 mil versus 1.25).

Through eight years in the league (1972-80),  Schmidt amassed a line of .257/.375/.525 (all calculated myself, thank you), with 283 homers, 787 RBIs, 129 SBs, 778 BBs, and a whopping 1077 strikeouts.  Burrell through eight years (2000-07,which makes these his career numbers going into this year): .258/.367/.482, 218 Homers, 741 RBIs, 5 SB (this pales in comparison with Schmidt), 683 BBs, and 1137 K’s.

So, in conclusion, I agree with Michael Jack.  The two have very similar number at several stages of their respected careers.  So what can we expect from our outfielder, then, judging from this analysis?  3 MVP years (and 9 times in the top 10 in voting (Burrell was #7 in 2005)), 12 all star appearances (though he has come close several years now, Burrell has a big goose egg staring at him), 6 silver slugger awards, and a first ballot HOF induction.  Is Number 5 the next Phillie to be named MVP?

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