If you are like a lot of St. Louis Cardinals fans out there, you may not pay attention to the farm whatsoever. We are pretty spoiled as fans, and when you are always competing, sometimes it is easy to be out of the loop when it comes to the young guys.
Well, now you have no choice but to be introduced to Alec Burleson. He was called up by the Cardinals today and is set to make his MLB debut rather soon for the Redbirds. Let’s learn more about him, and what his role may be on the big league roster.
Who is Alec Burleson?
Alec Burleson was selected with the 70th overall pick in 2022, thanks to a compensation pick from Marcell Ozuna. He has made quick progress and currently sits as the No. 5 prospect in our system. With Alec Burleson being called up, Dylan Carlson will hit the IL and Conner Capel has been DFA’d.
The Cardinals have a very unique mix of old and young, and that will continue with Alec Burleson. The 23-year-old from Charlotte, North Carolina is the No. 92 prospect in MLB and looks to make an immediate impact.
Even with little room in the crowded outfield, the Cardinals had no choice but to call up the young outfielder. He boasts a .331 average, .904 OPS, with 20 home runs and 87 RBI. Alec Burleson did all of this in 2022 while striking out less than 15% of the time. That is great to see out of a young power hitter.
Alec Burleson will not blow you away with his speed, but he does have a triple and an inside the park homer this season. The lefty has power, but can be seen as more of a contact hitter who sprays the ball all over the park.
In three years at East Carolina, he had a career .341 average and .883 OPS. Add a .994 fielding percentage to that, and 0 errors in his final two seasons, and this former Pirate in college is ready to become a Cardinal.
How Should Alec Burleson be used?
This late into the season, it is hard to expect much from a rookie you called up one week into September. Even if he rarely sees action, he still has the opportunity to learn from the vets.
The moment a lefty steps to the mound, we know it is Albert Pujols time, but perhaps we will be having the same mindset when a righty comes in to pitch. Alec Burleson mashes righties, with 18 of his 20 homers coming against them, and nearly 80% of his extra base hits.
Burleson was a two-way player in college at East Carolina, but is almost solely in LF these days. With a solid arm, and above average defense, he would mold well if Corey Dickerson begins to slump or needs a day off.
As of now, I believe he should be used as an assassin against right-handed pitching late in the game. I would love to see him get his shot, but not in a way which throws off the rhythm these red hot Cardinals have been in since July.