Is it his stance? Pitch selection? Health? Does he smell the money that comes in a free agent year?
"To be honest, when people write stories about it and analyze it, they make more of it than it really is," Burrell said. "What it comes down to, simply, is confidence. Confidence can take you a long way, especially in this game."
Jim Salisbury writes that Burrell hit .326 in 28 games in the first month. He set a team record for RBIs in April with 25. Entering last night, he led the National League in batting average with runners in scoring position (.480), was tied for second in RBIs (30) and walks (26), and was tied for third in homers (9). He ranked third in on-base percentage (.459) and fourth in slugging (.689).
From July 1 through May 4, Burrell ranked third in the majors with an OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) of 1.070 among players with over 400 plate appearances. Only Chipper Jones, at 1.079, and Albert Pujols, at 1.071, were better.
"I don't know if he'd admit it, but I think he feels healthier," Phillies assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "That has allowed him to feel more comfortable with his stance and approach. He can have a wider base, and that has helped him stay on the ball."
"He's matured," Charlie Manuel said. "He's gotten older. He's found out what's best for him. The greatest hitting coach you can have is yourself. Learn your swing. Know what you hit good. Improve your mechanics. Sometimes it takes a long time."