Emmanuel Burriss is the first big winner in the Giants' youth movement sweepstakes.
General Manager Brian Sabean said Sunday that Burriss has made enough improvement in recent weeks that the starting shortstop job will be the 23-year-old's to lose when the Giants open camp next spring.
"He plugs that position as far as I'm concerned,'' Sabean said before the Giants' 11-6 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. "He's come a long way. He's more confident defensively, he's certainly done well with the bat — he's probably exceeded some expectations — and his arm's gotten better.''
Burriss is batting .358 (24 for 67) since mid-August...
Looks like he's learning from Carney Lansford on how to hit better. Plus, his defense was always a question mark coming up, some thought his best position would be 2B. But given the Giants plethora of options at 2B but paucity of options at SS (Bocock didn't hit well when he returned to the minors, in fact, he did extremely poorly at AAA; in the Giants season of "throw the jell-o to the wall and see what sticks" methodology to trying out prospects, Bocock didn't stick) as long as he is at least passable at SS defensively and can hit OK, he's got the job.
So congrats to Burriss for his achievement, he has done very well since he got his chance.
Burriss split time at shortstop with Vizquel for much of June and early July, but until recently his future appeared to be at second base. After more than a month at there, Burriss was in the lineup at shortstop on Aug. 29, and he's been the starter there for eight of the past nine games.
Asked if he feels like he's establishing himself as a major leaguer, Burriss said, "I feel like I'm working on it. They are putting me in the position to feel like that.''
Now the Giants are convinced he can handle shortstop. His development, especially as a hitter, convinced the Giants that he's a better alternative to seeking a free agent this winter.
SFGiants.com had their version of the events:
General manager Brian Sabean asserted Sunday that he's projecting Emmanuel Burriss as the starting shortstop as the offseason nears. The switch-hitting Burriss, 23, who has eclipsed 41-year-old Omar Vizquel as the team's primary shortstop, entered Sunday's series finale against Pittsburgh batting .355 (22-for-62) with eight RBIs in his previous 20 games...
Burriss' emergence will enable the Giants to focus more heavily on other priorities, most notably finding a power-hitting corner infielder. "You guys know the price of doing business in the market. You're not going to get a shortstop and solve your other needs, too," Sabean said.
Barely more than a month ago, Burriss was included among the crowded field of candidates for the second-base job. But since starting 24 games at second from July 27-Aug. 27, Burriss has made eight of his last nine starts at shortstop.
About the Giants 2B situation, Sabes had this to say:
Sabean was less definite about the Giants' chances of filling their second-base vacancy from within. Contenders include Eugenio Velez, Ivan Ochoa, Travis Denker and Kevin Frandsen, who's recovering from a ruptured left Achilles tendon.
"Franny's the wild card," Sabean said. "Anything he does this year, we won't critically analyze or evaluate. We're going to have to wait until Spring Training and see how it looks. Anything he does on the field, whether it's in instructional league or if we brought him up here for the end, would be a bonus."
The Merc added about the 2B situation:
Top among those needs is a second baseman. The Giants are taking a long look at defensively challenged Velez. Sabean said the club would not consider moving third-base prospect Gillaspie to second base in hopes of adding a power-hitting third baseman this winter, but said Kevin Frandsen will be in the mix even though he's missed the season with an Achilles tendon injury.
Interesting point here was the note about Gillaspie. There were rumors of moving him to 2B because it was feared that he won't hit or field good enough to man 3B. Obviously, with the call-up, he is getting his chance at 3B.About Posey:
Sounds good, plus Posey is a much larger investment, they are going to give him all the chance and time in the world to deliver value, whereas they didn't pay that much for Gillaspie, so they could be a little more rushed in evaluating him, because if he doesn't develop in three years, he's probably not the long-term solution there either.
Sabean also sounded duly impressed after watching catcher Buster Posey play Saturday night with Class A San Jose in a California League playoff game. It was Sabean's first opportunity to see Posey perform in the flesh since the Giants selected him fifth overall in June's First-Year Player Draft.
"He was as advertised," Sabean said. "He caught and threw exceptionally well, threw a runner out easily, blocked the ball, caught third strikes." Sabean added that Posey demonstrated power, discipline and plate coverage while going 1-for-4 with an RBI single.
But Sabean said that the Giants won't summon Posey to the Majors, as they have done with third baseman Conor Gillaspie, their sandwich pick in this year's Draft.
"We've already got that position spoken for, at least for this year," Sabean said. "It would be counterproductive for the people here, not for him. He might have good experience here, but with Bengie [Molina], [Pablo] Sandoval and [Steve] Holm, there's no reason to experiment. We need to experiment more at third base."