On August 15th, Emmanuel Burriss came in on a double switch, and struck out in his only at-bat. His year-to-date line was .247/.310/.282. He had started only six games in July -- an inexcusable waste of development time -- and he looked like a player who was rushed to a major league bench after 62 at-bats above A-ball, which is exactly what he was. You couldn't blame the kid, but it was clear that he needed to go back to AAA, if not AA.
With that taken care of, the Giants could focus on their most important offseason priority: finding a shortstop of the future. Oh, there were several unappreciated shortstops to talk about on August 16th. For example, I ordered a pamphlet from Pueblo, Colorado, and it gave a lot of great information on Ben Zobrist. The first thing I noti...
...and then Burriss hit .371/.463/.443 over his last 84 plate appearances. His end-of-season line was .283/.357/.329, which is a perfectly acceptable line for a shortstop. The average shortstop in the NL hit .276/.334/.404, so while Burriss's utter lack of power is bad even for a shortstop, his on-base percentage and speed helped to bring him closer to the middle of the pack. His defense was surprisingly smooth, too. I don't have any doubts that he can remain at the position.
Now it's October 21st, and I'm almost fine with Burriss starting at short in 2009. Brian Sabean has basically given him the job, and that's just swell. It's one less position we need to fill, and....
...wait, am I really writing this because of an August hot streak that was comprised of less than 100 at-bats? Am I really so desperate for homegrown position players that I'm willing to ignore the possibility that starting Burriss next April is almost as mad as sitting him this July?
Kind of. I look at Burriss's almost-shiny .357 OBP and think, yeah, I can live with that. Then I go about my practiced offseason routine of ignoring the legitimate doubts building up in the back of my brain. But even if I wholly accept Burriss, it's lamentable that the Giants have one less position at which they can improve. The outfield is set -- crowded, even. Pablo Sandoval should get a bulk of the at-bats at first, pun definitely intended. So barring an unforeseen trade of Bengie Molina, Randy Winn, or Aaron Rowand, the Giants can only improve their offense with an acquisition of a second baseman and/or a third baseman if they eliminate any efforts to upgrade at short.
So I'm torn on Burriss. I don't want the Giants to spend money on a gimpy Rafael Furcal, and there's no sense in trading for an unproven guy like Ben Zobrist when Burriss didn't embarrass himself after being rushed. At the same time, though, I dread the possibility of Burriss completely flopping with the Giants having absolutely no backup plan. Burriss having a modicum of success is the worst thing that's happened to the Society of Opinionated Jackasses in some time. We've had emergency meetings about this and everything.
Open What to Do About Shortstop Thread.