Five seasons, three organizations, 11 teams in 12 levels, six positions played and a whole lot of bus napping. But Frisco RoughRiders Alex Burg doesn’t show a glimpse of such experience when you talk to him. He comes across as someone not weeks from 28 years old, but days from his first Minor League game. There’s an innocence combined with maturity about the Washington native that is refreshing, and a big reminder that yes, a lot of these guys are actually in this grueling Minor League Baseball circuit for a true love of the game.
On Friday night before the RoughRiders would win a thrilling extra inning game against the Corpus Christi Hooks (Houston Astros affiliate) I got a chance to speak with Burg about his unique versatility, his huge 2015 campaign so far, childhood idols and the ultimate dream of playing Major League Baseball.
What has your Minor League experience been like so far?
"*laughs* It’s been the most amazing experience of my life. You know, being a professional baseball player is something I’ve always dreamed about and being able to be on so many different teams and play at every single level besides the big leagues has been incredible. I’ve met so many cool people, had so many great experiences I wouldn’t trade for the world."
Who was your baseball idol growing up?
"Ken Griffey Jr. Being a Seattle kid, growing up and seeing Ken Griffey Jr. play every day was incredible. I always wanted to be him."
Has a certain switch flipped on this year? (2015 NUMBERS BETWEEN A-AA: .300/.411/.562, 18 HR, 52 RBI, 48 BB)
"The ballpark in High Desert (A) really helped a lot. And then I’ve done a ton of work with my swing with a guy named Jason Ellison (former MLB player) at home and he’s been absolutely incredible. He overhauled my swing in 2010, and every year I go back and work with him and I feel like every single day he has something for me that makes me better and I’ve been able to play a lot more this year than I have in years past. It’s showing and I feel like I’m getting smarter and getting better every time I come out to the field."
Would you consider your versatility your greatest attribute? (Burg has appeared in games at Catcher, First Base, Second Base, Third Base, Left Field and Right Field)
"Definitely, definitely. It’s something my dad had me do when I was a little kid, I played all nine positions up until College. Even in College I think I played eight. It’s just something I’ve always loved to do and I’m happy I get to do it at the pro level, it’s a lot of fun."
How do you feel about your chances of making the Rangers this year?
"I mean it’s all up in the air, you never know. I mean obviously once you get to AA you’re a lot closer than you think but at the same time you’re a lot further away than you think, too. Obviously I would love to play in the Big Leagues this year and if it happens I’ll be absolutely ecstatic. But if it doesn’t, just back to the grind and back to an off-season and hopefully I can sign another deal and have another good season next year."
I always wish players good luck after I interview them, but this one felt a lot more sincere coming out than any I remember. Burg turns 28 soon and we all know what that means in relation to his status as a Minor League prospect. However, the Rangers are searching for everything that he has been doing this year, and I really do believe that Alex Burg will be in Arlington before season’s end opening a whole lot of eyes.