Giants second baseman Emmanuel Burriss is on an 18-for-44 (.409) tear to open the month of May and was permanently awarded the Giants’ leadoff role on Monday. “He can bunt, he can steal a base. He can do some things you want your leadoff man to do,” beamed manager Bruce Bochy, upon announcing the lineup change.
Burriss is an interesting fantasy case. He has next to no power (1 HR in 350 career at-bats), but he’s displayed good plate discipline at every level of baseball and has the kind of speed that most managers love at the top of the lineup. Plus, he’s a switch-hitter. Through Tuesday night, he had racked up nine stolen bases, good enough for second in the National League.
Burriss was rushed to the majors last year as the Giants began calling on all the troops during the second half of a wasted season, but he may have been the most impressive of the club’s youngsters. At just 24 years of age, he still has time to build a little more strength. Burriss is never going to be a double-digit home run hitter, but an ability to drive the ball into the gaps, combined with his already impressive speed, will help him tally doubles and triples in bunches.
Warren Greshes of the San Jose Mercury News loves his potential, both offensively and defensively. “First off, Burriss’ speed and intelligence on the bases (highest baseball IQ of any of the Giants youngsters), has injected a much needed shot of energy into this team,” Greshes wrote last season. “His range and strong arm around second base has conjured up comparisons (albeit VERY premature) to Roberto Alomar, the best defensive 2nd baseman I’ve ever seen.”
Burriss is a native of the Washington D.C. area and spent his college career at Kent State. It’s an odd route to the major leagues, as Cameron Smith of the Washington Post noted in early May.
MASN’s Debbi Taylor collected a plethora of compliments about Burriss on Tuesday. Nationals manager Manny Acta said he “likes the speed and energy Emmanuel brings to the game.” Giants hitting coach Carney Lansford can attest that the young second baseman “has great work habits.” And Bochy added that he “likes Emmanuel’s approach,” calling him, in essence, “effectively aggressive.”
Burriss may never top fantasy draft boards, but he boasts a decent amount of value in NL-only leagues and mixed leaguers desperate for stolen bases may as well give him a look. He has scored only 10 runs heading into Wednesday’s full slate of action, but he’s sure to see a nice boost in that category as the new leadoff man.
On to the links…
Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch notes that Albert Pujols would bat .370/.456/.691 with 219 Hits, 44 home runs, 132 RBI and 136 Runs if he faced Pirates pitching every at-bat over the course of a season.