Patiently Waiting For "The Bat": A Look At Pat Burrell's Power Streaks

Let me start this by saying I am a Pat Burrell fan and in no way is this meant to "Pat Burrell sucks" post. I have been very pleased with the production of Burrell in many ways. This is simply looking at the lack of power he has displayed over the course his first month as a Ray. When the Rays announced the signing of Pat Burrell, we all knew there would be many highs to go along with a few famous Burrell slumps. So far we haven't seen the traditional Burrell slump, but we have experienced a lack of power in "The Bat."

Researching Burrell's past, this type of outage isn't out of the norm. After hitting a home run within his first 25 at-bats as a Ray, Burrell has not homered since then; a span of 58 at-bats over 17 games. Luckily for us this isn't something new, and Pat has suddenly lost all his power. In fact, this is the ninth time in Burrell's career that he has gone over 50 at-bats in the same season without a home run. Here is the list

Date

Games

AB

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

6/9/03-7/10/03

24

90

0.178

0.275

0.244

0.519

8/9/00-9/4/00

23

78

0.179

0.326

0.218

0.544

4/28/01-5/25/01

22

74

0.311

0.398

0.446

0.844

8/4/08-9/14/08

18

70

0.157

0.224

0.200

0.424

7/20/05-8/7/05

18

61

0.230

0.390

0.311

0.701

6/15/01-7/03/01

18

63

0.238

0.355

0.302

0.657

4/14/09-5/2/09

17

58

0.259

0.380

0.293

0.673

6/22/00-7/9/00

16

61

0.328

0.414

0.443

0.857

9/12/05-9/25/05

13

53

0.320

0.390

0.377

0.767

As you can see while Burrell's power is slumping, he has been getting on base at a .380 clip during this streak. And while the home runs aren't there the other hits are there. Burrell is hitting .259 and has 15 hits in the past 17 games to go along with 11 walks. Looking at some of the other streaks, like the one at the top of the list, it's easy to see how he drove some Philadephia fans crazy. Going on OPS alone, this stretch of games is similar to the 18 game stretch in which Burrell hit .238/.355/.302 from June 15th- July 1st 2001.

There are many factors that could be in play here and we've discussed all of them: new team, new home park, new league, and new role.  You could pick any of those reasons and it could certainly be a factor, but we don't know how much. What I do know is Burrell's line drive and fly ball percentages are back around career averages, however his home run to fly ball ratio is way below his career mark. For his career, he has a HR/FB of 16.5%. This year that is down to 3.6%. For comparison, the Rays had one player with a HR/FB of 3.7% in 2008 and that was Aki Iwamura. I doubt Burrell power now rivals Iwamura's, but stranger things have happened. If history tells us anything, Burrell will start hitting home runs, and start hitting them pretty soon. Just like everything else in 2009, we just have to be patient.

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