We continue our look at the Washington Nationals’ non-roster invitees for Spring Training by breaking down one of the players on that list who has Major League playing experience. While he hasn’t played a game in the big leagues in 2012, he is one of the players that people are saying could win one of the final roster spots this Spring.
Emmanuel Burriss is a 30-year old infielder that can play both second base and shortstop. He was signed by the Nationals in December of 2013 after spending his first seven seasons in the San Francisco Giants organization. In his last major league season (2012), Burriss played in 60 games, hit .213 with seven RBI’s and had an on-base percentage of .270.
Burriss, who was the 33rd pick by the Giants in the 2006 MLB Draft out of Kent State, played last season with the triple-A Syracuse Chiefs after spending time with San Francisco as well as a brief stint in the Reds’ organization. In 116 games, he hit .300 with six home runs and 46 RBI’s. Plus, his speed played a factor with his 22 stolen bases, a total that was second on the team behind Steven Souza Jr. and tenth in the entire International League.
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Burrriss would hit primarily out of the leadoff spot with Syracuse, hitting .312 in 85 games in that spot to go with a .386 on-base percentage. When looking at his splits more closely, I came away impressed with the fact that 37 of Burriss’ 46 runs batted in came with runners in scoring position. While that stat comes with having the opportunity to hit with men on base, it did show that when Burriss got the chances in those spots, he delivered.
In the second half of the season, Burriss hit .308 in 41 games with four home runs, doubling his total from the first half of the season. Plus, he did show the ability to hit left-handers, hitting .275 in 131 plate appearances (.310 against righties in 313 at-bats).
As far as his defense goes, he did make 18 errors in 104 games at the shortstop. Nevertheless, this is a player that has the ability to make the Opening Day roster because of the fact that he can play multiple positions.
While second base is filled up by the likes of Yunel Escobar and Danny Espinosa, the backup shortstop spot is up for grabs behind Ian Desmond. If Burriss can have a productive spring for Matt Williams and company, he is a player that could make the team out of Viera and be a good piece for the Nationals to have in 2015.