Every year prospects, non-prospects, and career minor leaguers put up big numbers in Spring Training. Blue Jays Andy Burns is having one of those springs.
I have been a big supporter of Andy Burns since the 2011 draft when the Blue Jays used their 11th round pick on the University of Arizona product. I’ve followed him closely as he steadily moved from Bluefield and Vancouver in 2011, at Lansing in 2012, at Dunedin and New Hampshire in 2013, at New Hampshire in 2014, and finally with Buffalo in 2015.
Baseball America rated Burns as a Blue Jays Top Prospect in 2013 (#19) and 2014 (#24).
Two things went wrong with Andy Burns’ game in 2015. First, his ISO plummeted. Second, his running game disappeared.
Good Play in the Field
The native of Greenville, South Carolina posted ISO’s between .143 and .198 in two years prior to 2015, but only posted an ISO of .079 in 2015. Burns hit over 30 doubles and 15 HR in both 2013 and 2014 but only 26 doubles and 5 home runs in 2015. After stealing 33 bases in 2013 and 18 more in 2014, Andy was caught 9 times in 15 attempts in 2015.
A non-roster invitee to Spring Training, Manager John Gibbons has given him every chance to succeed or fail with 20 spring games. Andy Burns has taken this opportunity and ran with it. He has hit .333 with an OPS of 1.011 with 11 hits, 8 runs, 4 doubles, a triples, a home run, 4 walks and 5 strike outs. He’s also looked good with the glove, playing all infield positions.
A Springs like this can open some eyes and get him back on management’s radar as potential infielder or utility player option. Unfortunately, it’s springs like these that can cause fans to see a player as something he’s not. We need only look at David Adams as cautionary tale.
David Adams has put up good number with the Blue Jays this spring. He has spent the past 8 seasons in the minor leagues, seven as a member of the New York Yankees and one as a member of the Baltimore Orioles. Both players play multiple positions, show the ability to hit in the mid .200 with below average power and speed.
David Adams will be playing in his age 28 season, likely for the Buffalo Bisons. Like Burns, Adams is have an phenomenal spring hitting .407 in 16 games with 4 doubles, a home run and 4 RBI while walking 3 times and 7 strike outs.
Good spring stats can cloud the value a player has. Adams is a career minor league 2nd baseman who has struggled to hit at the Triple-A, where Burns appears to have the chance to earn spot on Toronto’s bench as some point.
Andy Burns will need to fight for at-bats in Buffalo as he will be competing with Matt Dominguez for reps at 3rd and David Adams and Jon Berti for reps at 2nd. Regardless, Burns should now be considered for the next spot on the 40-man roster.
*Featured Image Credit:Ryan Andrews