Brewers: Why Corbin Burnes could win the Cy Young Award

PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 07: Corbin Burnes #39 of the Milwaukee Brewers in action during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 7, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - JULY 07: Corbin Burnes #39 of the Milwaukee Brewers in action during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on July 7, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Trying to bounce back from a disappointing 2019 season, Brewers right-hander Corbin Burnes is looking to prove himself to be a Cy Young Award recipient.

Being the minor league pitcher of the year in 2017 and having an amazing 2018 major league debut, it looked as though right-hander Corbin Burnes was going to be electric going into 2019 for the Milwaukee Brewers

It didn’t really go that way.

By May, Burnes had lost his spot in the starting rotation and took several trips to the minors and continued to work in the bullpen to improve his performance. By the looks of it, it didn’t look like Burnes was improving at all, more so heading towards a downward spiral.

In Spring Training last year, Burnes posted a 4.84 ERA in seven starts, and started in the rotation. In his first big league start, he struck out twelve batters but gave up three home runs. Through four starts, he allowed 11 homers and owned a 10.70 ERA. He finished the 2019 season with a 1-5 record and posted an 8.82 ERA in a total of 32 games.

What went wrong?

If we’re looking to find out a reason as to why Burnes struggled after being on fire the previous season, we can point the blame to his approach. His high-spin fastball was good, but it wasn’t good enough. Burnes arguably has one of the best sliders in the league, but continues to throw a high-spin fastball that’s low in the zone, which makes it a bad throw due to how fast the ball can travel.

What will change?

2020, according to Burnes, is his turn-around year. When Burnes talked to reporters, he told them that he’s almost completely gotten rid of his fastball-first approach and is working his much loved slider to make it the best on the mound. Burnes told reporters that he’s been working in this off season on how he can improve his slider and make it one of the best in baseball.

Fans won’t be seeing Burnes wearing his prescription goggles this season as he’s gone ahead and had lasik surgery in the off-season to fix his far-sighted vision and help see better when he takes the mound.

It was said by the Brewers that they could see both Corbin Burnes and Freddy Peralta in the starting rotation heading into spring training, but, when reporters talked to Craig Counsell, it seems that there isn’t a clear answer as to where Burnes will land come opening day.  He’s an active member in the bullpen, but it would be nice to see Burnes in one of the five starting rotation positions. He won’t be the number one spot, as that’s taken by the ace Brandon Woodruff, but a fourth or fifth place spot would be perfect for Burnes going into a comeback season.

When it comes to considering if Burnes could come out on top and win the Cy Young Award? I’m pretty confident that 2020 could be the year for him to win. Last season, the New York Mets’ Jacob deGrom was the recipient of the Cy Young Award in the National League, making him the first in the Mets’ franchise to become a back-to-back Cy Young winner. It was a well deserved award for deGrom as he had an NL-high 255 strikeouts and posted a 2.43 ERA in 204 innings. It’s going to be tough to beat out deGrom, and even runner-up Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals, but I believe that Burnes is fully capable of bouncing back, getting a spot in the starting rotation and claiming that Cy Young Award for the 2020 season.

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It would definitely be an underdog story for the books. He’s got the talent, and he’s going to display it as he’s been working hard to improve it and show people that just because he had one bad season, doesn’t mean that the rest of his career is going to be horrible.

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