Padres Scouting Report: Brian Burgamy

A switch hitter with speed is always a welcome addition to the big leagues. One that can add some pop and play a good defensive game is an even bigger plus. Brian Burgamy, a 22 year old out of Wichita State, does not currently possess all of those traits, but the San Diego Padres think they can be developed over time.

Brian Burgamy began the season at second base, was then moved to third because of defensive reasons and eventually settled into a role of consistency in the outfield.

"He played outfield in college, so he ended up playing outfield here," Fort Wayne Wizards broadcaster Terry Byrom said. "He did a pretty good job in left field. Much more comfortable it seemed than on the infield. He played second and third here. It was rough for him at both of those positions."

After a promising year with the Eugene Emeralds where he batted .268 had a .361 on base percentage, showed some power with nine homers and stole 14 bases in 70 games, the club was looking to the sky as a limit to his potential.

A promotion to Fort Wayne ensued and Burgamy struggled at the plate, was worse defensively in the infield and his star began to fade, prompting one Padres scout to say, "He is going to be just a utility type guy."

In 130 games, his first full season, Burgamy hit just .222 and his power numbers decreased across the board. After a 2002 season where he boasted a .444 slugging percentage, Burgamy faltered and barely broke the .300 mark.

"He is a guy that should have hit better," the scout continued. "It was just one of those things with Brian where he turned into the leadoff hitter and just about got to the all-time record in walks in Fort Wayne, which was 80, and I think he walked 78 times.

"He got himself on base. His on base percentage was 100 points better than his batting average, which you can never go wrong there. If his batting average was .250 than you really couldn't go wrong. His batting average was in the .220's and the on base .330." No one doubts his discipline at the plate. When you walk that many times in the minors it shows patience, a rare attribute for a minor leaguer. Still, when he was swinging he often missed. He struck out 98 times – not a good trait for a player with just four home runs on the season.

The Padres, however, seem undeterred by the setback.

He is a guy that the Padres think has a chance because of his body and how well he did in college and the fact that he plays a lot of different positions," Byrom said. "He played centerfield for Wichita State from what Brian said, for three years. He is a guy that has a pretty decent arm. He would throw guys out on the bases and he got to the ball pretty well. After the first few games (playing centerfield), he got back into it and looked pretty comfortable."

To make it at the Major League level, Burgamy will have to encompass all the traits that got him drafted in the ninth round of the 2002 draft. He should fill out and develop more power – and he will need it at his new left field position. To be able to run is not enough anymore. A player must also be able to jack one out, play the field well and hit for average.

Currently, Burgamy has not displayed enough of any of those characteristics.

Denis Savage can be reached at safage@cox.net

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