Instead of going pro, Burns chose to attend the University of Kentucky to play baseball, where he stayed for two years.
"The biggest factor was that I do not think I was ready for pro ball," Burns said. "High school competition in Colorado was good, but it was not great, so the jump would have been much greater."
When Burns joined Kentucky, he began to play in one of the more prestigious baseball conferences in the NCAA.
"I got to play in the SEC, which had great arms, and I struggled. I think those struggles and getting through that is what helped me get where I am today," Burns said.
In 2010, Burns then transferred to the University of Arizona where he was forced to sit out his final season of college baseball due to NCAA eligibility rules.
"It was an interesting deal that happened with Kentucky, but I always thought that everything happens for a reason," he said.
Although Burns was forced to sit out his final year of eligibility at Arizona, he continued with his baseball workouts in preparation to play professional baseball.
"I was more than prepared to sit out. I continued to work on my game, I did everything I could to get ready, and that helped me get drafted and everything worked out."
The Toronto Blue Jays chose Andrew Burns in the 11th round of the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft. Burns' road to the show has officially gotten underway.
"I am chasing a dream and getting this opportunity is all I can ask for. Now, it is the matter of me making the most of that opportunity. I wake up every day, go to the yard. What else would I rather be doing?" Burns said.
Last year, Burns spent time playing in the Rookie League for the Bluefield Blue Jays and the short season league for the Vancouver Canadians. From the course of last season to this past spring, all the way up to this season, there has been exponential progression in Burns' game.
"I dedicated myself to getting into the weight room, getting stronger and faster," he said. "Also, getting into the cage and working on my swing and just building on everything I learned down in the instructional league; I felt that I got much help from there."
Burns made the Low-A Lugnuts team for 2012 and was clearly ready to showcase to everyone his ability. He has jumped out to one of the quicker starts on the team, posting a .288 batting average with five homeruns, 15 RBI and five stolen bases. In 104 at bats, he has a strikeout to walk ratio of 24:9.
Although Burns has started the season off with a bang, it was no real surprise to him or the staff. He was only doing what is expected from him.
"I am not [surprised], he had a good year last year and he had some time off before we got him last year, so this is the progression we were hoping for," Batting Coach Kenny Graham said. "He is the guy that shows up every day and works hard in the cage and defensively. He is right where we expected him to be."
At the beginning of the season, it was Andrew Burns and his bat that were the topic of conversation in the clubhouse; and they still are, but he has put his glove to good use, as well.
"He has proven that he has swung his bat well, but he is a good defender. He catches the ball, makes the routine plays and he will make the not-so-routine play every once in a while. That is what is impressive," Manager John Tamargo said.
Burns is a leader to his team on the diamond and takes pride in the position he has on the Lugnuts. He must take charge and confirm that everyone is ready on the entire field, from the infield to the outfield.
"In playing shortstop, you have to be a leader. You are somewhat the voice of the infield. You are very active in every play, there is always something going on and it keeps you focused in the game. At any moment, the ball could be hit to you," Burns said.
Burns has had a fantastic first month of the season, but the season is a long one. He will continue to dedicate the time he does to improve his game to ensure that he does not miss a beat.
"It is [a priority] with all the guys at this level, being able to compete, being consistent, and using the experience and time. He will be fine. He will improve; that is the goal, to get better from day one to the last day of the season. I think that ‘Burnsy' will be the same way," Tamargo said.
LANSING, MI - Former two-time high school player of the year in the state of Colorado, Andrew Burns has had an extraordinary journey to the position he holds now in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Burns was chosen by the Colorado Rockies in the 25th round of the 2008 MLB Amateur Draft.
Burns Off to Quick Start
Andy Burns of the Lansing Lugnuts is third on the team in runs batted in.
Lansing Beat Writer
Burns was an 11th round pick in the 2011 draft.
May 12, 2012