Now that the season is over, the crew at Blue Jays from Away will take a look at the Blue Jays one by one and review how each player’s season went, whether he met expectations (or not) and look at how he fits into (what we think of) the Blue Jays’ plans going forward.
Andy Burns put himself on the prospect map in 2013 after a monster start to the season got him promoted to Double-A New Hampshire. Drafted (and beginning his professional career) as a shortstop, Burns had a successful conversion to third base. After a couple of decent years with the bat, he started to increase his value to the big league club by adding some more defensive positions to his portfolio. By the end of 2015, Burns had played almost every position on the diamond aside from pitcher and catcher at levels up to Triple-A.
Burns got people talking about him when he hit .293/.351/.372 in Buffalo in 2015. As I had noted back then, I was a bit concerned by his lack of power (just four home runs in Buffalo) which, for him, was a big step back. In 2016, Burns recovered some of the power (25 doubles, a triple and eight home runs in 454 plate appearances with Buffalo) but saw a major decrease in batting average (down to .230), almost entirely due to a huge drop in BABIP and an increase in strikeout rate (likely due to a desire to pump up his power numbers). Burns’s Buffalo numbers didn’t particularly inspire confidence that he’ll be able to hit in the majors but his versatility led to a call up to Toronto for his major league debut on May 9.
Burns didn’t get a hit in any of his first five plate appearances in the majors before he was sent back to Buffalo (where he had five multi-hit games in his first 11 games back in the minors) and he was recalled in the middle of June where he was unsuccessful in his only two chances at the plate. Another big league stint had him score two runs in a pinch-running role over two games in July and he finished the season without a September call up.
Obviously Burns didn’t really get a chance to play and with Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki, Devon Travis, Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins ahead of him on the infield depth chart (he can play a bit at first and in the outfield but shouldn’t really be considered a threat to play there outside of an emergency). But Burns showed a bit of what he can do in spring training, hitting .286/.375/.500 with four doubles, a triple and a home run over 42 at bats this year. Whether he can do that in the regular season (given regular playing time), is a huge question mark. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Blue Jays showcase him a bit the upcoming spring to possibly get some trade value back in the form of a borderline reliever or marginal prospect.
Andy Burns has just a few days of big league service time and has used one of his three options. He remains on the 40-man roster.
Andy Burns had an impressive spring training, and I was excited when he was called up on May 6th. He made his MLB debut on May 9th. His first time reaching base came in San Francisco on May 11th after being hit by a pitch. After five appearances in May, he was sent back down to AAA, then returned for three games in June. In six at-bats over the season, he struck out twice. His AVG was .000 and his OBP was .143.
He was used as a pinch-runner twice in July, and scored both times. A utility defender, he also played parts of six games in the field – four at third base, one at first, and one in left field. Still looking for that first hit, though.
Regular Season Grades
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