Sean Burroughs returns to majors with Diamondbacks

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Completing a comeback already far more successful than anyone would have anticipated, Sean Burroughs was called up by the Diamondbacks on Wednesday, putting him back in the majors for the first time in five years.

Burroughs, the former Little League World Series hero turned top prospect in the Padres system, showed next to nothing with the bat in a brief look with the Diamondbacks this spring, but he hit .386/.434/.571 in 27 games for Triple-A Reno after taking the field in mid-April.  He was batting .426 with eight extra-base hits in 14 games this month.

Burroughs, a first-round pick in 1998, reached the majors in 2002 at age 21 and was a very solid regular in his first full season with San Diego, hitting .286/.352/.402 in 518 at-bats in 2003. 

Unfortunately, that proved to be his high point.  While he hit .298 in 2004, he had only 27 extra-base hits and 31 walks in 523 at-bats, leaving him with a subpar .713 OPS.  He battled injuries throughout that year and in 2005, when he hit just .250/.318/.299 and spent a month in the minors.   The Padres gave up on him after the season, trading him to the Rays for another famous bust, Dewon Brazelton.

Burroughs went on to play in just eight games for Tampa Bay in 2006, going 4-for-21.  He signed a minor league deal with the Mariners the next winter, hurt his shoulder prior to the start of spring training, got released in June and then fell completely off the map for 3 1/2 years.

Now he’s back, though it remains to be seen if it will last.  Burroughs was never a great defender at third, and he’s pretty much a singles hitter at the plate.  Since he’s not a legitimate utilityman, he could have a difficult time sticking.  Still, he’s always been able to put the bat on the ball.  It wouldn’t be the most shocking thing if he ends up having a second career as a pinch-hitter.

Ramón Laureano made an absolutely ridiculous play yesterday

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I talked about it in the recaps, but dear lord does Oakland A’s outfielder Ramón Laureano’s play in yesterday’s game against the Blue Jays deserve it’s own post.

Jays first baseman Justin Smoak led off the second with a single Then Teoscar Hernández then came up and hit a long drive to center. In what, in and of itself, would’ve lead the highlight reels yesterday, Laureano ranged back to the wall and reached over to rob Hernández of a homer.

Laureano is known best for his arm, though, and that’s when he unleashed that hose, attempting to double off Smoak at first base all the way from the warning track. The throw was not on target — indeed, it sailed way past first base — but that was itself impressive as all get-out. As A’s pitcher Brett Anderson said after the game, he’s pretty sure the throw went farther than Hernández hit the ball in the first place. The arm strength on display there was simply phenomenal. But it was also lucky.

Lucky because the throw went so far into foul territory that it gave Smoak the courage to break for second base. Laureano was not the only one playing great defense on the play, though: A’s catcher Nick Hundley backed up the play, got Laureano’s errant throw and fired it down to second, nailing Smoak. And heck, Hundley’s throw was nothing to sneeze at either:

That did not go as an outfield assist for Lauerano, obviously, as his bad throw — which would’ve been an error had Smoak managed to advance, we must admit — broke that up. So, in the books it goes as an F7 and then a separate 2-4 putout. Still, it just shows Laueano’s incredible defensive abilities, both with the leather and with that cannon he has for an arm.

An arm that, this play not withstanding, gets him plenty of assists. Indeed, he has has five assists this season already and has 14 assists in just 70 games, which is a lot. To put it in perspective, it usually takes somewhere between 12-18 to lead the league in a full season with 20 being an outlier of sorts, only seen once every five years or so.

So, if you’re gonna hit it to center against the A’s, make sure you hit it all the way out. And if Laureano gets to it, for god’s sake, don’t run on him.