Brewers: Can Corbin Burnes make the starting rotation?

Matthew Dewoskin
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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Milwaukee Brewers right-hander Corbin Burnes has looked solid this spring. Is there any chance he makes the 2020 starting rotation?

Corbin Burnes has made three appearances so far this spring. He’s made two appearances in relief and one as a starter. Burnes has looked solid so far and is showing no signs of a hangover for his disastrous 2019 season. Does he have a shot at the starting rotation?

How has Burnes looked so far?

Burnes has thrown six scoreless innings across three outings so far. He’s fanned seven and walked only one this spring, and appears to have rediscovered himself as a pitcher. His impressive stuff is still there, and the command appears to be much improved over what he showed last year.

How did his most recent appearance go?

His most recent outing, a three-inning relief appearance on Wednesday, March 4th, indicates that the Brewers are looking to keep Burnes stretched out for a starting role.

Burnes came in after starter Brandon Woodruff threw three innings, and tossed three of his own. Burnes scattered three hits, walked one, and struck out four. He recorded a pair of ground ball outs, and one through the air.

How is the competition for the fifth starter’s role shaping up?

The final spot in the Brewers rotation looks like it will come down to Burnes, Eric Lauer, and Freddy Peralta.

All three have solid numbers so far. Lauer is viewed as the favorite due to his success in the San Diego Padres rotation, but Peralta has a new slider and a new contract.

Burnes is facing an uphill battle for a starting role, but he’s a favorite to land a bullpen role on the active roster. This is actually a fantastic development because Burnes never looked like himself last year while posting an 8.82 ERA in 49 innings in the Majors last year. He struggled in the rotation, got sent down, continued to struggle, got hurt, and seemed like he needed a hard reboot to find success again.

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Burnes looks a lot more like the guy who impressed as a rookie in 2018 than he does the guy who couldn’t stop giving up homers from last year. Burnes may not be able to secure a rotation spot this spring, but he could work his way into a starting role if he continues to succeed. The Brewers also have a dangerously thin bullpen, and a resurgent Burnes could play a key role in the bridge to closer Josh Hader. This spring is off to a very promising start for Burnes. A promising start that his career and his future in Milwaukee really needed.

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