The year of Burleson

Sports

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — It’s been a full year for Springfield Cardinals outfielder Alec Burleson.

From hearing his named called in the MLB Draft just over a year ago to winning the Cardinals’ minor league player of the month for May, Burleson has been making a name for himself within the organization.

The scenery has changed quickly.

“From sitting on the couch and not doing anything to getting ready for the season and getting drafted to coming out here and starting with the Cardinals,” Burleson said.

The Cardinals selected Burleson with a second round compensation pick in 2020 out of East Carolina, where he was a two-way player at first and on the mound.

“It’s nice to have that in my back pocket,” Burleson said. “But now I am going to start dialing in on the corner outfield.”

He started his pro baseball journey in Peoria. After just 11 games, he was moved up to Springfield.

“It was definitely surreal. Just because I wasn’t expecting it to happen that quickly,” Burleson said. “I called my parents, called a bunch of people. Next day, I got here to Springfield. They took me in, you know first year in the program and I’m already in Double-A. They took me in like I have been here for three or four years.”

Before he could even get his last name on his home white jersey, Burleson smacked his first career Double-A home run.

“All I remember is not thinking it went out because I didn’t think I hit it well, but Hammons Field the wind is always in favor to left field so I guess I got it up there high enough,” Burleson said about the home run. “Rounding second I was looking for someone to tell me ‘hey, stay right there” when I realized it went over.”

Burleson is the 16th ranked prospect in the Cardinals organization. He’s batting around .300 with Springfield and has proven to come up clutch when needed.

Something he takes pride in every day he takes the diamond.

“I’ve always felt like I have to prove myself a lot through life in baseball and I feel like that is what is pushing me to keep going. To prove myself that I belong here, belong at the next level and the next level, whatever that may be.”

The Cardinals are on the road for a series with Wichita followed by Tulsa before returning home at the end of June.

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