Oakland Athletics: Billy Burns Had A Pretty Great Rookie Season
It was clear from the start that Oakland Athletics’ rookie Billy Burns would be a solid outfielder for the team at some point in the future. However, it was not expected that he would have such an impact in 2015. Burns made the most of his opportunity in the MLB and was able to prove that he deserved the starting centerfielder role this past season.
Burns first caught everyone’s attention in 2014 during spring training. This was his second spring with the Athletics and he played in 23 games. Not only did he bat over .300, but he also showed off his speed by stealing ten bases. During spring training in 2015, he produced even better numbers, maintaining a batting average over .350 over the course of 28 games and hitting three doubles and three triples. It was clear that Burns was close to breaking into the big leagues, but most thought he would not be called up until September.
His 2015 debut came quite earlier than everyone expected. Burns was called up in early May when Coco Crisp was sidelined with his neck injury and Craig Gentry was struggling at the plate. Despite only playing in a total of 13 games in the Majors prior to his May 2 call up, Burns quickly assimilated to life at the O.co Coliseum and became a reliable center fielder for the green and gold.
Burns first demonstrated that he was aggressive at the plate. He regularly put the ball in player and stole bases. In total, Burns had 26 stolen bases this season while his speed allowed him to collect nine triples and 18 doubles. He also became known for finding success when swinging at the first pitch. His splits tell it all – Burns hit .479 with a 1.193 OPS when the pitch count was 0-0.
When it came to fielding, Burns did not disappoint. Even though Burns is only 5’-9” and 180 lbs, he was able to cover the expansive outfield with his speed and agility. There were many times where it seemed as though it was going to be impossible for Burns to make a catch, but he almost always did. His almost super-human abilities definitely fit right in with “Superman” Sam Fuld and “Spiderman” Josh Reddick. Perhaps Burns can assume the name the Flash to round out the A’s outfield of superheros.
Up Next: MiLB Coaching Assignments Announced
Despite the Oakland Athletics’ dismal record in 2015, Burns was able to make the most of his opportunity. It is undeniable that he should be a Major League starting outfielder and he will do great things for the A’s in the future. It will be exciting to see how he grows and improves as a player in 2016.