Burrell is passing on pitches early in the count that he could possibly turn into long drives to the seats. Burrell seems to be having trouble picking up the movement of pitches, which is keeping him from unveiling those McGwireesque hacks. In these days of video analysis, it might just be a matter of some quality time in front of a TV monitor studying more film of his at bats. It could be a matter of better advance scouting of opposing pitchers. Whatever it takes, Burrell needs to fix the flaws soon, before they snowball into bigger problems as the season progresses.
What makes these struggles more pronounced is the fact that he is also struggling in the field. Burrell, who converted to the outfield early in his professional career, has had the worst fielding season of his young career. Burrell is normally a solid outfielder with a strong arm, who covers a decent amount of ground in leftfield. With all of Burrell's struggles, it begs the question of "is there something deeper to look into?"
Could this just be the case of an early season slump? Maybe. But there could also be more factors contributing to Burrell's struggles, and maybe even some psychological reasons for his slump. Perhaps after seeing the front office sign Jim Thome this off-season and watching the reception he has received from the fans may be irking Burrell may be feeling somewhat forgotten in the Phillies grand scheme. If that's the case, Burrell needs to get over it. The Phillies rewarded Burrell with a lucrative contract and he's highlighted prominently throughout the Phillies ballpark preview area and season publications. Plus, Burrell and Thome seem to have developed a strong friendship.
Maybe all it will take to correct Burrell's problems is a week or two of solid swings resulting in some majestic long drives. Soon, Burrell will again hear big ovations from the Phillies faithful and all will be well. Even with Burrell's dismal start, the final numbers can still be there considering Burrell's talent.