Monday, June 6, 2011

Pat Burrell: Bench Asset

Yesterday was the anniversary of Pat Burrell joining the Giants. He was better than most people could have ever expected in their wildest dreams, producing nearly three wins above replacement in just 96 games. This season, he hasn't had quite the same magic, but he is still a very valuable asset to have on the team.

After a nice start, Burrell has seen his power go into hibernation (since May 1st he is slugging .273) and with it currently MIA, he is no longer a viable starting option, with Andres Torres, Cody Ross and Nate Schierholtz as much better options.

With Burrell struggling, many people are starting to wonder if he's taking a roster spot that could be better used by someone else. I would have to say no way. For one, when he is hitting for power, he is as valuable as any hitter in the lineup and even when he isn't hitting, he helps in other ways. If you want a good example of the value that Burrell brings this team, look no further than last night's 2-1 victory over the Rockies.

With the game tied 1-1, Burrell led off the bottom of the eight with a walk after working the count full. He was lifted for a pinch runner who came around to score. Burrell was 0 for 0 and made no plays in the field but had a major contribution to a much needed Giants win.

This is why Burrell is a valuable asset to keep around. Even when he isn't hitting for power, he is the most patient hitter on the Giants and is almost guaranteed to give the team a tough at-bat and is as good a bet as anyone on the team to get on-base, with the highest OBP among non-injured Giants.

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