Interviewing Royals prospect DJ Burt

DJ Burt is one of the more interesting prospects in the Royals system. He’s a utility man that can play all over the infield and the outfield, he runs like hell, and gets on base at premium clips. The Royals have an obvious infatuation with guys who can run and play good defense, and DJ Burt fits the bill. DJ was kind enough to answer a few questions for us, and I came away with some new confidence in the Royals speedster.

Q: What are some goals that you’ve set for yourself for 2019?

DJ: “Some goals that I have this season are to have less than 40 strike outs, steal 30 bags, and post a .280 batting average in AA.”

Q: You went through a pretty lengthy stretch between 2016 and 2017 where your batting average dipped a little bit. You made a huge adjustment in 2018. What do you think went better for you last season?

DJ: “Just playing with confidence and staying on the fast ball and just doing what I do best which is getting on base anyway possible, bunt or hit. My weapon I think is me running bases. I love to make things happen and help my teammates out by getting to third or to second base with less than one out.”

Q: You’ve been something of a utility man defensively throughout your career. What’s your favorite position to play? What do you think to be your best defensive position?

DJ: “Honestly, growing up I  played outfield but I haven’t had much time in the outfield in pro-ball, so right now second base. But I think I can play the outfield or anywhere in the infield.”

Q: The Royals value speed more than most organizations, and you’ve clearly got plenty of it. How do you think you use your speed to give yourself a leg up on opposing teams?

DJ: “Just creating absolute speed on bases, stealing bags, I’m very aggressive first to third and just love putting pressure on the pitchers.”

Q: I think we can both agree that strikeouts are something we always want to keep at a minimum. When you walk as much as you do, you also run into your fair share of 2-strike counts. What do you think is the best way for you to continue to walk at the rate which you do, while also working on improving the strike out rate?

DJ: “I trust my eyes and just being a tough out at the plate. Not missing my pitches early in the count.”

I’m excited to see what 2019 holds for Burt. He’ll almost certainly begin the year with AA Northwest Arkansas, but given his superb combination of speed and on-base ability, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Burt in Omaha by year’s end. Burt reminds me a lot of Whit Merrifield, in that his speed, defensive versatility, and ability to put the bat on the baseball could help him carve out a big league career. He’s certainly on the Royals radar, and with a good 2019 season, I think he’ll be on most Royals fans’ radars as well.

Photo Credits: Ken Inness – MiLB.com

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