DOB: October 28, 1982
Never judge a book by its cover, or in this case, it's stature. While he stands only 5'8'', Deacon Burns is a tremendous baseball player, who has the ability to carry a team with his bat. A former two-sport athlete in college, Burns has been more than impressive since being selected in the 26th round of the 2004 June draft.
Burns originally attended McLennan Community College, but transfer to Northern State University in order to play football. He was a standout returner for the football team at NSU, but decided to also try his hand in baseball. In high school, he was an All-American, and was named All-State in both sports.
His first season as a member of the baseball team came in 2003, and it was a spectacular season. Burns batted .376 for the Wolves that season, while leading the team with 14 home runs. Burns also led the team in a plethora of other categories including, stolen bases (16), doubles (13), and hits (62), to just name a few.
In 2004, Burns had a season that would garner him many awards, as well as get the young slugger drafted. Not only did he set his school's season records in multiple categories, but he was also named as the NSIC Co-Player of the Year. He was also named first team All-Region, while setting the conference record for home runs in a season, leading the league with a .495 batting average, and slugging percentage (1.000).
At the time he was drafted, Burns was slated to be the Wolves' starting running back in the Fall, and was also approaching most of the NSU career batting records. He was quoted as saying that playing professional baseball was his dream, and he signed with the Twins shortly after being drafted. He was then assigned to Elizabethton of the Appalachian League.
In his first season of professional baseball, Burns took the Apply League by storm. He finished tenth in the league with a .314 batting average, and third in the league in both home runs (12), and runs batted in (49). In addition, he led the league in hits and doubles, and finished third overall in slugging percentage.
Overall, he reached base safely in 23 games straight that season, was named Twins' Minor League Player of the Week, was Apply League Player of the Month in August, was named to the Post-season All-Star Team, and finished the year as the 20th best prospect in the league by Baseball America. It was a pretty impressive first season of professional baseball.
This past season, Burns got his first taste of full-season baseball, as a member of the Beloit Snappers. Throughout the season, Burns continued to show the ability to hit for extra-bases, as he led the league in doubles (36), triples (13), and extra-base hits (61). Overall, the diminutive slugger batted .271, smacked 12 long balls, and continued to be one of the best sluggers in the organization.
Batting and Power. Burns can flat out hit, and he has been the main bat in the lineup for most of his career. This past season, he and David Winfree formed the most deadly one-two punch in the Midwest League, as the two combined for nearly 190 runs batting in. He can hit to all fields, and he has the one thing that most Minor League hitters do not, which is the ability to hit for extra bases. He is an extra-base hit machine, and has tremendous pop for not only someone his size, but for someone of any stature. He also walked 50 times this season, and is probably more suited for the two spot in the order in the future.
Base running and speed. Burns is a former collegiate kick returner, so you know that he has speed to burn. He was also an All-State running back in high school, and has shown the ability to steal bags during his professional career. He currently has 22 career stolen bases, and has only been caught stealing five times. He is also a great all-around base runner, who uses his speed to get inside the head of opposing pitchers. This is why he is a perfect top-of-the-order hitter, because he is always getting on base, and he could end up being a perfect table-setter. He should steal 20 bases next season.
Defense. Deacon uses his speed to track down balls that most outfielders cannot get to. He has only seven errors throughout his professional career, and has seemingly made a harmless switch to the corner outfield positions. A former centerfielder, Burns is a security blanket in the outfield, and makes up for an average arm with the ability to play smart defensively.
ETA. 2008 Burns has been a pleasant surprise since being drafted in 2004, and could legitimately see time at the Double-A level in 2006. With his speed, and ability to hit for extra bases, he should make a steady rise through the system, barring any unforeseen setbacks. Because of his size, most scouts will be quick to judge him negatively, even if he puts together a nice season. However, with Burns' mentality as a former football player, he will not let that bother him, and could see Minneapolis by the time September comes in 2008.