Should Andy Burns be added to the Blue Jays 40-man roster?
By Ryan Mueller
Toronto Blue Jays infield prospect Andy Burns is currently playing for Bravos de Margarita in the Liga Venezuala Beisbol Profesional…..the Venezuela Winter League. For many players Winter League is a time to improve on certain aspects of their game, to hone their skills, to impress their current team or showcase themselves for another team.
Thus far Andy Burns has yet to impress or show improvement in any aspect of his game. His performance this fall has done little to convince the Blue Jays to use a spot on the 40-man roster to protect him in the upcoming Rule V Draft, but is this a bad thing?
Maybe the struggles that the Burns experienced in April and May of the this past season and his current struggles with Bravos de Margarita will detour other teams from selecting Burns, if left unprotected. On the flip-side, if Burns were able to turn things around and display the skills that allowed him to salvage his 2014 season, maybe the Blue Jays will have no other choice but to place him on the 40-man roster.
Kinda a catch 22 isn’t it?
The decision to protect Andy Burns should not be made on his Winter performance alone. The 2011 draft pick has seen his stock rise in every year, expect 2014. He split 2013 between High-A ball Dunedin and Double-A ball New Hampshire, racking in Dunedin and coming down to earth in Double-A. The was that repeating Double-A would allow Burns to put up better numbers. This didn’t happen.
Burns only experienced slight increases or decreases in ISO, OPS, BABIP, wOBA, and wRC+. His BB/K remained at 0.41, which means for every walk Burns struck out about 2x. Looking at his 2014 stats didn’t reveal any correlation between production/struggle and his walk/strike out numbers. Actually, the exact opposite was true. In May, Burns hit .223/.317/.359 and walked 14 times with 18 strikeouts (.77 BB/K) in 29 games. In July, he hit .312/.333.550 and walked 5 times with 24 strikeouts (.21 BB/K).
Could Burns struggles this Winter be a product of working on his plate discipline, plate vision, or maybe just trying to do too much.
So far this Fall Burns has only hit .205/.314/.250 with 2 doubles and no home runs and hasn’t made an appearance since October 22nd. These numbers don’t instil much confidence, but as I already stated, maybe this isn’t a bad thing.
I am of the option that Andy Burns has the skills to play in the Major Leagues one day. His ceiling falls somewhere in between an everyday 3rd baseman, not All-Star, and utility bench guy. These are the types of players the Blue Jays need to hold onto. With no clear internal or external candidate presenting itself to claim the 2nd baseman’s job in 2015 and an oft injured 3rd baseman, Burns could get his chance to play in the majors in 2015.
Here’s hoping that Burns can get in some quality at-bats and force the Jays to add him to the 40-man roster.