The Royals were in need of outfield help, so they traded forBilly Burns. After a disappointing season with the Oakland A’s, could Burns offer fantasy owners valuable production down the stretch?
Coming into the 2016 season, Billy Burns shaped up to be a quality fantasy OF after having a breakout season in 2015. He posted a, .294/5 HR/42 RBI/26 SB line last year, leaving fantasy owners more than willing to make him a mid-round selection. But, things did not go according to plan, as Burns would get out to a miserable start, get eventually demoted, and now traded to the Royals.
The deal will have Burns heading to Kansas City for Brett Eibner. While Eibner got off to a nice start with the Royals, he predictably cooled off, and will more than likely fantasy irrelevant the rest of the season. Burns however, could provide sneaky value for fantasy owners willing to give him another chance in 2016.
Billy Burns struggles this season have largely stemmed from his sudden change of approach at plate. Burns broke out last season thanks to his ambush approach at the plate, as he would attack pitchers early and often in the count. He does not draw too many walks, slap style of hitters usually do not, so to see his swing percentage drop by over five percentage points does seem rather perplexing.
There were admittedly some red flags with Burns’ fantasy value coming into the season as well, most glaringly a .414 BABIP, but owners were banking on his speed to offset some of those concerns. Burns has stolen 14 bases this season and has only been caught three times, but as we all know, a player cannot steal a base from the dugout.
While there are plenty of reasons as to why Burns can continue to be ignored moving forward, the move to Kansas City could be all it takes to get him back on track. Burns only spent 10 games at AAA this season, but was able to bat .293 and steal four bases.
The Royals have built their recent success on being aggressive at nearly every aspect of the game, a style that fits Burns’ skill set to a tee. Another confusing part of Burns’ game, is that even though he is one of the fastest players in the game, he seemingly does not steal at will like the other prolific base stealers in the game.
Kansas City could remedy that stagnation of sorts, by giving Burns the green light to take off at will, like the team has done with Jarrod Dyson. The Royals lineup has had it woes this season, but if Burns can get off to a good start with the club, he should bat at the top of the order where he can still offer plenty of counting stat opportunities while hitting in front of Eric Hosmer, Salvador Perez, and company.
Billy Burns is by no means a must add off the waiver wire just yet, but he is a name that should be monitored. Steals have been down across baseball all season, and if Burns can secure a consistent role with the Royals, he could prove to be a fantasy difference maker moving forward. He has burned plenty of fantasy owners already this season, yet there is still time for him to possibly redeem himself after the trade. Keep a close eye on his over the next few weeks.