Note: Being the baseball zealot that I am, I decided it would be interesting to do a series of post highlighting former Kent State baseball players who are now affiliated with major league clubs. Each post will highlight a former Kent State baseball player and "How They Fared" — catchy name huh? — throughout their major or minor league seasons. today is former Flash Manny Burriss. Let me know what you think or ways we could make it better at firstname.lastname@example.org
Manny Burriss, SS (UTIL)
San Francisco Giants
With Ray Durham and Omar Vizquel spending most of the season looking at letters from the AARP, Burriss finished his quick ascension through the minors and played himself into a roster spot with the Major League Giants. In part because of his solid play, The Giants eventually shipped Durham -- and his endless supply of Gerotol; to the Brewers to make room for guys like Burriss.
Burriss has always been a guy that never strikes out and plays great defense, but there was some worry that is power-depleted bat would not translate to the major leagues. Some had the opinion that power pitchers would simply knock the bat out of his hands with overpowering pitches. That was not the case, atleast so far.
In 92 games last season Burriss struck out just as many times as he walked (24/23) and hit for a .289 average. Nice numbers for a first year player. His speed plays well as a base runner too. He stole 13 bases with the Giants, a number that will improve with experience.
Make no mistake about it though, Burriss is more important on the defensive side of the diamond. Last year he played at second, short and right field.
He should be up on the Giants for good. As Kent State coach Scott Stricklin said to me a few months back….
“They gave (Manny) No.7. That mean’s he is up for good.” If they had placed him in a No. 56 jersey the expectations wouldn’t have been as high, he said.
One thing to keep an eye on: The Giants are actively pursuing former Dodger shortstop Rafael Furcal in free agency. It has also been rumored that Edgar Renteria is in the mix as well.
The signing of either of those two, especially Furcal, would limit Burriss to a utility role for the foreseeable. He doesn’t hit well enough as a full-time second baseman yet, emphasis on yet.