Alec Burleson was very open with us this weekend about some changes he is making to himself this offseason to come prepared for a stronger 2024 season, and he greatly appreciated how direct the Cardinals were with him about those expectations as well.
The Cardinals told him he needed to get better in the outfield, indicating they do not trust him out there defensively right now. This led him down a path of making his body the focus of his offseason.
"The body. Getting everything moving better. Losing weight. Getting faster. I’m checking all those boxes right now, and we still have a month to go. I’m ticking off a lot of things that I wanted to accomplish this offseason. It’s coming together."- Alec Burleson
Burleson said he didn't feel like he had done enough work with his body the prior offseason, causing him to not be as prepared for Spring Training as he thought he should be. He feels confident this year that his weight lost and improvements to his mobility will help him in the field, as well as his quest to produce more results as the plate as well.
Burleson's 2023 season was an odd one offensively. If you look at the underlying metrics and advanced statistics, they all pointed toward more success at the plate than he had. He was making great contact with the ball, but they kept going right at defenders or not falling in there like you'd hope. Burleson was the second unluckiest player in terms of xwOBA last year, only behind Aaron Judge.
That's a frustrating place to be in as a hitter. He stuck to his process for the majority of the 2023 season but has been open about embracing changes to his approach as he looks to produce better results next year. If he can find the happy balance between staying true to what has made him successful and adjusting to the league, he'll be very productive at the plate in 2024.
Some guys would have taken the feedback he got last year and ignored it, being too stubborn to change and find success in a different way. Burleson impressed me with the way he took the Cardinals' feedback to heart, and he's ready to get on the field and show what his offseason training has done for him.