I'm hoping that a scene like this plays out soon:
But thank you, thank you, thank you for everything you’ve done. Here’s a bag of sunflower seeds. Here’s a cribbage board. Steve Holm is quick with the muggins, so be careful when you’re counting up the points. You’re a good bunter, so we’ll call on you to pinch hit often. You’ll still start every week, or so.
Again, thanks for your service as a starting shortstop. We have far too many fond memories to recount. You’ve been wonderful.
Maybe that’s a little too dramatic. I’m not advocating that Bruce Bochy should just outright bench Vizquel. Both Vizquel and Emmanuel Burriss have fewer than 100 at-bats, so there are major sample-size shenanigans at work. Burriss is having trouble with right-handed pitching…maybe. He only has 50 at-bats against righties. Vizquel is completely unable to break the Mendoza line…maybe. His batting average on balls in play is .214 for the season, which would suggest some bad luck is making Vizquel seem worse than he is.
But at the very least, Burriss doesn’t look overmatched at the plate right now. Vizquel does. Burriss is the maybe-future. Vizquel is not. Put it all together, and it makes sense to work Burriss into the lineup more and more. If Burriss finishes the season at .296/.356/.370, I’ll be shocked. If Omar finishes the season at .191/.271/.223, I’ll only be mildly surprised.
I know that Burriss probably isn’t a short-term answer. Even though Burriss’s numbers look good right now, it’s mostly because he’s seven for his last 17. That’s how small of a sample we’re dealing with. Before that 17 at-bat surge, Burriss’s OPS was comfortably under .700. It’s far, far more likely that Burriss ends his season with numbers closer to the Brian Bocock Experience than his current totals. He has Kuiperian power, which makes it hard for him to work out a walk even if he wants to. It’s too soon to expect Burriss to hold his own against major-league pitching.
Still, Burriss’s hotter-than-expected start makes me want to find out what he can do with 300 additional at-bats. The defense has been better than advertised – the range isn’t superlative, but he has a nice arm, and he can turn a pretty sweet double play – so I’m not worried about a huge dropoff from the aging Vizquel in the field. As long as he doesn’t devolve into the sub-pitcher numbers of Bocock, Burriss should start more games than Vizquel from here on out.
And, yes, I realize that this makes me a hypocrite, as I was big on pounding the OMG-Bocock-couldn’t-even-hit-in-the-Cal-League!-drum. That was convenient at that time, just like this is a convenient post right now. But at least it’s refreshing for you to enjoy a little honesty with my intellectual dishonesty, right?
Comment starter: When do you pull the plug on Omar as the six-day-a-week starter? And is Burriss worthy of a longer look, or are his numbers a mirage?