Splitsville: Deacon Burns v1.1

"Splitsville" is a series of articles on the Minnesota Twins' prospects that we'll be doing throughout their minor league careers. In version one/chapter one (v1.1) of Deacon Burns, we'll look how he's doing against righties and lefties, what month he put some power numbers up, and more as a member of the Beloit Snappers.

Take Me Away: Burns seemed to be much more comfortable on the road in 2005, as he put up much betters numbers there. Burns hit .291 on the road, as compared to .253 at home, and he drove in ten more runs, despite playing in four less games. In 64 games on the road, Burns hit five of his 12 home runs, and drove in 44 of his 78 runs batted in. He also stroked nine triples, and struck out ten less times than he did at home. Good away numbers are always a good sign when it comes to prospects, and Burns seems to be a guy who can play all three outfield positions well.

Having the ability to hit on the road is something that separates normal Minor League prospects, from prospects who appear on the scouts' radar. Often times, especially in Low-A, the accommodations are less than desired, and it is often tough for young players to take their show on the road. For Burns, the road games are not the problem, its hitting in front of the home fans that he needs to work on.

All The Way May:Burns enjoyed his best month average-wise in the month of May. During that month, Burns hit over .300 for the only time this season, posting a .314 batting average in 28 games. He set monthly highs with 36 hits, 24 runs, ten doubles, and hit five of his 13 triples. While it was not his best month power-wise, Burns got off to a hot start, and became a feared hitter in the Midwest League because of it.

Getting off to a hot start is key for any athlete. There is no better feeling then being confident from the get-go. For Burns, his hot May spring-boarded him into having one of the better all-around seasons of his professional career. Also, starting hot enables a player to not get down on himself when he struggles during the middle of the season, a thing that happens to most ever player throughout the year.

August Of Power: At 5'8'' tall, Deacon Burns does not strike you as a power hitter. He only weighs about 185 pounds, but he has the uncanny ability to hit the ball for power, and hit it into the gaps for power. During the month of August, Burns went on a power binge, blasting a season-best six home runs. That total would match the amount of dingers he hit in the entire season to date, and he would end the season with 12. Burns ended the month with a bang, blasting home runs in consecutive games from August 26-27.

For a small guy, Burns can really stroke the ball out of the yard. Six home runs in one month is probably something he will not do again in his Minor League career, but his ability to hit the ball in the gaps and run forever is a quality that will advance him throughout the organization. During the month of August, Burns hit four doubles, and two triples to go along with his six dingers, giving him 12 extra-base hits out of his 30 total.

Kill Righty: Like any typical left-handed hitter, Burns struggled against the lefties in 2005. He posted much better numbers against right-handed pitching, a sign that he is still a young hitter learning the ropes of professional baseball. Against righties, Burns hit .281, giving him a huge contrast from the .202 he hit against left-handers. Burns also hit nine of his 12 home runs against righties, and 11 of his 13 triples. He was also more comfortable on the base paths with a righty on the mound, swiping 12 of his 13 stolen bases against them.

In order for Burns to be considered a legitimate outfield prospect, he must learn how to hit against left-handed pitchers. He is far too good of a hitter to become one dimensional. In time, and with experience, Burns will begin to hit left-handers. Most importantly, he needs to remain comfortable against righties while he learns to adjust against lefties. But he is young, at 22-years old, and has time to work on this problem. Even some of the top outfield prospects in the organization, like Denard Span, have trouble against lefties.

The Third Slot: Burns enjoyed hitting in the number three slot in the batting order in 2005, posting by far his best numbers. During the season, he batted everywhere in the order except eighth, but was much more comfortable right in the middle of the lineup. Batting from the three slot, Burns batted .297, much higher than any other place in the order where he got more than 11 at-bats. He appeared in 66 games batting third, with batting second a close second, with 53 appearances. As an example, Burns hit only .247 in the number two spot, and drove in 19 less runs.

With a big bat like David Winfree in the lineup, Burns was given a lot of protection batting third instead of second. The two formed one of the more feared one-two punches in the Midwest League, combining to drive in 179 runs. Anytime a player puts up more than respectable numbers in the number three slot, it is a testament to the kind of player they are. They are getting up in pressure situations all season long, and are often counted on to carry the team in some instances.


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