Nationals prospect Michael Burgess had a solid October-November in the Arizona Fall League with the Scottsdale Scorpions. Burgess won the championship with the Scorpions and played on the Rising Stars team, hitting .246 with three doubles, three triples, two homers and 12 RBI.
Scorpions batting coach Alan Zinter liked what he saw from Burgess in Arizona, comparing his power capability to another prospect in the Nationals chain.
“His power is right up there with Bryce Harper,” Zinter said.
“Burgess was putting on a show. The thing he has to be careful with is he is still young and he needs to pull back on the reins. That is what he (was in Arizona) for. He needs to be a little bit easier and a little bit softer in his approach and his attack (at the plate).”
Zinter says Burgess has to work on one simple part of his swing.
“Burgess doesn’t have to swing so hard,” Zinter said. “But it is a misconception. I did the same thing (coming up), when you are young and strong. You want to swing hard and hear the ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’.”
Swinging too hard can cut the field in half and affect your entire approach.
“In baseball, that can hamper and hurt your swing,” Zinter said. “When you swing too hard it throws it off and then you start hooking balls. It forces you to play with just 60 percent of the field from the first baseman over to the foul line. That is not good. Pitchers and coaches will see that, they are going to pitch you out over your front foot.”
Zinter says Burgess made the proper adjustments to calm his swing down and work it to just one part of the diamond. The adjustment paid quick dividends when Burgess cranked a monster shot.
“He bought into it,” Zinter said. “With what they have been working on with him all year is to relax and slow things down, let the ball travel. We put his focus on hitting it to left-center field. He hit a bomb to left-center field. It was ridiculous.
“He is working on letting the ball travel and he likes what he is doing,” Zinter continued. “But sometimes, he is a young kid, he lets his aggression get the best of him. He has got to learn to control that. He has great tools. He has great power to all fields. He is a great kid.”
Zinter said he noticed the work ethic of all the Nationals in Arizona and how they were willing to arrive early and stay late every day.
“I can’t beat the Nationals to the cage,” Zinter said. “Sometimes they are in the batting cage and I don’t even know they were in there. Every day they were in there. The Nats had great kids in Arizona offensively and also from pitching staff.”