Top 50 Prospects: #20 - Brian Burres

All I can say is that we put together these rankings early in the offseason. That's why Brian Burres, who was acquired by the Baltimore Orioles last month, makes it into the Top 20 despite being no longer on the team.

Date of Birth: 04/08/1981 Position: P Height: 6'1" Weight: 180 Bats: L Throws: L
Acquired: Drafted in the 31st Round (#931 Overall) of the 2000 Draft
2005 Stats
Norwich - AA 9 6 4.20 26 24 0 128.2 130 66 60 13 57 105 .264 0.77
Mesa - AFL 1 2 8.24 6 6 0 19.2 24 19 18 2 13 14 N/A N/A

Whoops…just after covering a potential free agent in the Top 50 prospects, we come to Brian Burres, who was most definitely on the Giants 40 Man roster when this list was compiled at the start of the offseason, but who currently is a member of the other Major League franchise that wears black and orange, the Baltimore Orioles. And the Giants didn’t get anything for him.

How’d this happen? Well, Burres became the victim of the complicated rules that surround baseball. Burres was Designated for Assignment last month, because he was on the 40 Man Roster, and the Giants needed to take someone off of it so they could add the recently signed Jose Vizcaino to back up the infield. The 40 man roster was full because of General Manager adding several young players to protect them from the Rule 5 draft, another way a team can lose young playersBy doing the DFA, Burres had to clear waivers before he could be assigned to a minor league club, and simply put, he didn’t. Burres was picked up by the Orioles.

Amusingly enough, less than a week later, Burres was DFA’d by the Orioles, who were adding another player to their 40 man roster. This time, no one picked him up, and he was sent to Baltimore’s AAA team in Ottawa of the International League.

So what’d the Giants lose? Burres was one of the surprise starting pitching prospects, and was surprising because he hadn’t been a fulltime starter before 2004. The 31st round draft pick didn’t even make a start in 2003, but was thrust into a rotation role in San Jose in 2004, given the unenviable task of ‘replacing’ the promoted Matt Cain, who left San Jose having gone 7-1 with a 1.86 ERA in 13 starts.

Burres, armed with a new cut fastball taught to him by San Jose pitching coach Trevor Wilson, responded with an astounding 12-0 record as a starter, with a 1.87 ERA when in the rotation. He ended the season with a 7 game winning streak.

The 2005 expectations were high, and Burres had a mixed year in his first full one as a starter. He had a very strong first half of the year, with a 2.84 ERA going into 2nd week of July, and being named to the Eastern League All-Star team to replace injured teammate Chris Begg. But starting in July, Burres appeared to tire a little, and had a couple of starts when he did not have his stuff, giving up 7 runs in 1.2 IP in late July, and 6 in 3.2 IP in late August. Without those two starts, his ERA would be 3.43 and look a lot better to someone just looking at his year end stats.

Still, with a high 80’s fastball and solid but not spectacular offspeed stuff, the southpaw remained a bit of a dark horse to make the major league rotation, projecting to be a back of the rotation guy at best. But that chance was there, and even if he didn’t reach that, he’d proven his ability to get outs and could’ve become a very good left handed reliever. Burres will be a solid major leaguer, and he’ll be it someday soon.

But it won’t be with San Francisco. The Giants are probably going to regret losing him for nothing this offseason.

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