Billy Burns is what you'd call a one-trick pony. That one trick, however, is so good that it's earned him his first ticket to the Major Leagues.
The A's called up the 24-year-old switch-hitting outfielder to the game's highest level following news that outfielder Craig Gentry was being moved to the 15-day disabled list with a broken right hand, the team announced Monday. Outfielder Kenny Wilson was designated for assignment to make room for Burns on the 40-man roster.
Burns has been one of the most prolific speedsters in the Minors over the past two seasons.
In 2013, The Nationals' 2011 32nd-round pick swiped 74 bags between Class A Advanced Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg -- third-most in the Minors behind Micah Johnson (84) and Billy Hamilton (75) -- to go with a .315/.425/.383 slash line in 2013. He was then traded to the A's organization in December in a one-for-one swap for left-handed reliever Jerry Blevins.
In his first season in the Oakland farm system, Burns has once again shown off that trademark speed, ranking fourth in the Minors with 51 steals in 91 games at Double-A Midland. His bat has been exposed, however, as he's put up just a .250/.333/.330 slash line with one homer, three triples and 20 doubles in the Texas League.
He's played primarily in center field with the RockHounds with some experience in left sprinkled in.
MLB.com pegged the 5-foot-9 switch hitter as the A's No. 17 prospect when rankings were updated Sunday night. His speed tool is graded at a perfect 80 on the 20-80 scale, while his hit (50) and fielding (55) are the only other tools rated at least average.