San Diego Padres Top 10 Prospects
By Jim Callis
1. Sean Burroughs, 3b
Age: 21. B-T: L-R. Ht.: 6-2. Wt.: 200. Drafted: HSLong Beach, 1998 (1st round). Signed by: Tim McWilliam.
Background: Burroughs entered 2001 with the reputation as the best pure hitter in the minor leagues. He led Long Beach to consecutive Little League World Series titles in 1992-93 and in 2000, his second pro season, he was named MVP of the Futures Game and won a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic team. The only thing missing from his résumé was adversity, but he got his first dose last April. Burroughs was batting .328 at Triple-A Portland despite a sore right knee, which proved to be a torn meniscus that required surgery. Sidelined for a month, Burroughs returned and hit like he always had. Managers rated him the best prospect in the Pacific Coast League.
Strengths: Burroughs is a career .327 hitter in the minors despite being young for his league each year. The Padres are excited about 2001 first-round pick Jake Gautreau, another gifted offensive playerand Gautreau is 10 months older than Burroughs, whos on the verge of the major leagues. He has a picture-
perfect swing, a quick bat and an uncanny sense of the strike zone, with more walks than whiffs as a pro. He isnt troubled by lefthanders, against whom he batted .349 last year. He works hard and makes adjustments easily when needed. His instincts are another asset, no surprise considering hes the son of former No. 1 overall pick and American League MVP Jeff Burroughs. Sean has soft hands and a strong, accurate arm at third base.
Weaknesses: Burroughs power potential has yet to manifest itself. He has just 17 homers in 340 pro games. He has started to look for specific pitches to drive, depending on the situation, and projects to hit 25-30 homers annually once he gets acclimated to the major leagues. His speed is his worst tool, though he runs the bases well and makes the plays at third base.
The Future: San Diego has an impressive array of talent at third base, and theres still some thought that Burroughs could play second. The Padres would rather just get his bat in the lineup, so all-star Phil Nevin will move to first base and Ryan Klesko will shift to the outfield in order to open third for Burroughs. He is a prime 2002 Rookie of the Year candidate and a batting champion waiting to happen.
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