The wait is over for East Carolina University’s Alec Burleson. On Tuesday, Burleson heard his name called by MLB Network’s Matt Vasgersian as the newest member of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Selected at the back-end of the second round with the 70th overall pick, Burleson becomes the fourth-highest drafted Pirate in program history. The slot value associated with Burleson’s pick is $906,800, according to MLB.com. However, there is no guarantee the college junior receives that amount when he and his team begin contract negotiations.

In fact, under a plan between the MLB and MLB Players Association, Burleson, like every other pick in this year’s draft, will only receive $100,000 of his signing bonus right away, with half of the remainder deferred until 2021 and the other half due in 2022.

Nevertheless the money side of things, Burleson ends his ECU career as one of the most decorated players in program history. After slashing .370/.399/.573 with nine home runs and 61 RBI at the plate and posting a 3.28 ERA on the mound as a sophomore, Burleson was named to five All-America teams by various publications, and was a finalist for the 2019 John Olerud National Player-of-the-Year Award.

During his two full seasons and a shortened 2020 campaign with the Pirates, Burleson started 107 of 116 games and saw significant time at four different positions (1B, DH, LF, RF). After slashing .375/.440/.547 across 64 at-bats in 2020, Burleson leaves ECU with an all-time slash of .341/.387/.496. He hit 12 home runs in purple and gold, driving in 91 runs while maintaining a sparkling .994 fielding percentage.

On the mound, Burleson was equally good. As a freshman and sophomore, the southpaw posted sub-3.40 ERA’s and held opposing batters under .250 at the plate. Last year, Burleson made 24 appearances, including nine starts, and racked up 60.1 innings pitched, a career-high. His 3.28 ERA was his best mark at ECU as he struck out 68 batters against just 26 walks.

In four starts this season, Burleson amassed a 4.24 ERA across 23.1 innings. He struck out 22 batters versus five walks while posting a 2-1 record. Despite a solid start to the season on the mound, the left-hander allowed a combined 10 earned runs across 8.1 innings spanning his final two outings against Indiana and Charlotte. In comparison, Burleson issued just one earned run spanning 15 innings in his first two starts of 2020 against William & Mary and Georgia Southern.

Recruited to ECU as a pitcher by head coach Cliff Godwin, Burleson has blossomed into a hitter-first two-way player. For now, it is unclear whether the Cardinals view him to stick as a two-way player, but they did announce him as an outfielder on Thursday.

While Burleson will likely not hit 20-25 home runs a year in professional baseball, he does possess good gap-to-gap power with the ability to run into a baseball every now and again. More of a spray hitter, Burleson rarely gets pull-happy in the box and has a great strike zone judgement for a collegiate prospect. For evidence of that, he struck out just 40 times in 413 at-bats during his time in Greenville, North Carolina.

Burleson will have until Aug. 1 to sign with his new club.

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