In 2004, when Dean Peterson and Al Koman started the Mid-West Strat-O-Matic league, I selected Todd Helton with my first pick, and former first round selection of the Padres, third baseman Sean Burroughs (son of Jeff Burroughs) as my second selection.
Burroughs the younger was off a fine first full season (.286-7-58), and in the throes of a good second full year (he finished .298-2-47), and as a 23-year old, with a seemingly bright future, and I anticipated years worth of productivity from my improving third baseman.
In 2005 Burroughs bat pretty much died, and by 2006 my third base plan had become toast. Fortunately, that season I wrangled a high selection during the off-season rookie draft, and selected Ryan Zimmerman, so all-in-all, things wound up ok for that team.
Not so for Burroughs, who was traded by the Pads that fall to the Rays, released a year later, signed by the Mariners the next year, and then released again. So that by 2007, the player who in 1999 was ranked the #4 prospect by Baseball America was simply out of baseball.
At least until this year when the Diamondbacks signed Burroughs to a minor league deal during the off-season, and following his .386-1-15 start at Triple-A Reno in 2011, Burroughs is back. With a .434 minor league OBP, in fact, thanks to six each of walks and strikeouts.
Burroughs is long gone from my Strat team, but now 30, he’s manning the hot corner at Chase Field.
So strange, baseball is.
Then there is Russell Branyan, who in '99, the year Burroughs ranked #4, was picked as the #29 prospect by the same Baseball America.
A first sacker with first baseman power, and a related swing, Branyan managed 210 minor league home runs, and another 190 in the majors, to go with a .239 average, .349 OBP, and 1057 strikeouts over 1022 games (141 doubles, and eight triples, meaning the extra base hits were not so forth coming).
Now 34, the same Diamondbacks that added Burroughs dropped Branyan, in a kind of Yin/Yan move that is perfect beyond belief.I suppose this is the end of Branyan's big league career, but, as witnessed by Burrough's path, you never know.