A true bright spot in the Milwaukee Brewers organization to this point in his young career is Corbin Burnes.
His statistics speak for themselves. At his highest level he threw a 2.10 ERA through 16 starts. There are some, including myself, who believe that Burnes will pitch for the Milwaukee Brewers as early as this season.
The number 17 prospect in the organization, and 97 in baseball is on a great trajectory. The 23 year old is only two seasons removed from college ball. He was also kind enough to answer some questions for Reviewing the Brew.
Q: First off, a belated congratulations on winning the Brewers MiLB pitcher of the year for 2017. What did securing that honor mean to you?
Corbin Burnes: “Thank you very much. Being named pitcher of the year was a great honor. I was fortunate enough to play with a great group of guys in both Carolina and Biloxi that supported me the entire season. Without those guys backing me up in the field and providing run support, I wouldn’t have been given this award.”
Q: It is certainly well a well deserved award. In two years you have had a ton of success. What was the biggest adjustment transitioning to the professional ranks from college?
Corbin Burnes: “The biggest adjustment for myself was transitioning to the 5 day rotation instead of 7, and getting used to facing great hitters up and down the lineup. There is a lot that goes into preparing yourself each week on the 5 day rotation and that’s something I had to learn.”
Q: Your play on the field has earned you rankings as a top prospect for the Milwaukee Brewers, and even in the top 100 in the MiLB. It certainly has to be some great validation, but how do you keep your focus on the field?
Corbin Burnes:” I try not to get caught up in all the rankings and stats. My goal is to give all I have got every single day whether it is in the game or bullpens or weight room. My focus is on getting better every single day and preparing myself to the best of my ability for every single start. I wait to look at stats and that other good stuff at the end of the season.”
Q: I want to shift the focus away from playing for a minute. Before you were even drafted I am sure playing professionally is something you dreamed about. Growing up, who were your idols on the field?
Corbin Burnes: “Yeah, I’ve wanted to play professional baseball ever since I started playing. Two of my favorite players growing up were David Eckstein and Nolan Ryan.”
Q: Looking up to David Eckstein, was there a time when you thought you wanted to be a hitter? Or were you always a pitcher at heart?
Corbin Burnes: “Yes, absolutely. I was always the smallest kid growing up, played shortstop, and loved he Angels, so I was able to watch him play as a kid.
I didn’t become a PO until college actually, I hit and played middle infield all the way through high school and started to focus on pitching my senior year. It wasn’t until I started getting recruited for colleges when I learned I wasn’t good enough to play middle infield at D1, so I made pitching my focus.”
Q: Do you have a favorite memory at the plate?
Corbin Burnes: “I won a couple of Homerun Derby’s growing up in little league, so that was pretty cool.”
Q: What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given, or the best advice you can give someone who is hoping to become a pro player?
Corbin Burnes: “The best advice I was given and would give to a young player is to be a good teammate. When you have a group of guys that are all great teammates, you push each other to be better and to work at your craft every day. When people become selfish, and individuals on a team, the team suffers. And so does everyone’s performance.”
Burnes is a true team player, and that is a big part of his success thus far. After two seasons in the professional ranks, he continues to get better. Keeping a focus on the field is helping him fly through the Milwaukee Brewers farm system. A big thank you goes out to Corbin for talking to me.