Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Do or Die Time: Michael Burgess

Next in my series of Nats prospects who need to make a move in 2010 is slugging outfielder Michael Burgess.

Michael Burgess, 21 year old, OF
Drafted in the supplemental 1st round in 2007, 49th overall.

2009 stats:
Potomac-high A: .235/.325/.410, 23 2B, 2 3B, 19 HR, 71 RBI, 63 R (545 PA)

Career stats:
.254/.345/.463, 59 2B, 10 3B, 54 HR, 192 RBI, 167 R (1323 PA)

Burgess is about as far from a sure thing as you will ever find. He has ridiculous power potential (career ISO of .209). He walks a lot (10.1% or better at every level in his career) but strikes out even more (28.1% or higher at every level in his career). Burgess simply does not make enough contact to be seen as a "top prospect" anymore, even though he has the potential to be a power hitting star. It would not surprise me if he ended up as a ML Regular, but it would not surprise me if he never reaches the bigs either.

If I could choose one comparable player to Burgess, it would be Nats youngster Justin Maxwell. Maxwell has below average marks in contact and strikeouts, but has a lot of power and raw talent. If Burgess can put it together like Maxwell appears to have done, he'll be a solid ML regular. The one thing Burgess has on his side is youth: he has only played two full seasons in the minors, at 19 and 20 years old. He is by no means locked into his performances over that time.

2010 Fearless Prediction: .250/.340/.470
I can see Burgess' numbers stabilizing a bit, with the power sustained and the contact raising a little bit closer to his career averages in a second year in Potomac.

Major League ETA: September 2012

Recent scouting notes:
"The ultimate three true outcome guy (walk, strikeout, home run). I have not seen the development in strike zone judgment I would have hoped for. In my opinion, he could use more seasoning in Potomac in 2010."-Nationals Farm Authority, 12/24/09

"Some (top prospects) have not developed as hoped and still are “getting by” on reputation (Burgess)."-NFA, 11/10/09

"Strengths: Plus power, excellent arm strength and solid defense. Weaknesses: Does not hit for average, not a lot of speed, needs to be more patient hitter."-NationalsProspects.com

"Power potential, throwing arm, and youth are big positives, will take a walk, but strikes out a lot and batting average is quite low."-MinorLeagueBall.com, 11/18/09


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