Brewers MLB Draft Prospect Profile: RHP Tanner Burns

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The MLB Draft is rounding the corner and our coverage preparing you Milwaukee Brewers fans for potential first round picks continues.

It’s been nearly a decade since the Milwaukee Brewers drafted a right-handed pitcher in the first round and almost 15 years since they signed a first round pick at that position.

Right-handed pitchers are always an interesting and risky demographic to take a look at in the draft. In this edition, we’re going to be taking a look at Tanner Burns out of Auburn University.

Tanner Burns, RHP, Auburn

Burns is rated the 28th overall prospect by MLB Pipeline. He attended Decatur High School, where he was named a two-time All American, and fourth overall best player in the state of Alabama. Burns doesn’t have great size, standing at just 6’0″ and 205 pounds.

In 2017, Burns was selected in the 37th round by the New York Yankees but declined and opted to join the rotation at Auburn. Prior to the Coronavirus shutting everything down, Tanner Burns made four starts this season, posting a 2.42 ERA with a 0.99 WHIP in 22.1 innings. In his sophomore season, he tied the Auburn record for strikeouts within a game, punching out 15 in a game against Cincinnati.

In his college career, Burns has a fantastic 2.86 ERA in 36 starts covering 188.2 IP. He’s struck out 210 batters and opponents have hit just .218 against him.

MLB Pipeline’s Jim Callis says that when Burns is at “100 percent, he can work a 92-97 mph fastball and locate it to both sides of the plate.” Burns is able to throw the ball with heat and have a great angle on aiming it low in the zone.

He accompanies his fastball with a curveball and a changeup, though, he doesn’t really use his changeup much. The curveball can get slurvy at times, with speeds hitting in the lower 80’s. Although he’s a strong, athletic guy, Burns has been known to have some shoulder issues that caused his numbers in his sophomore season to have a bit of a dip. That could be a concern to those who are interested in Burns.

It would be interesting if the Brewers would select Burns. Based on their farm system and their bullpen, adding another righty to the crew could be beneficial to them, even if he ended up in the bullpen instead of the rotation. As long as they’re comfortable with his size and health, Tanner Burns could be a great fit in the Brewers system. Some scouts have compared Burns to Reds ace Sonny Gray. A pitcher like that would be a welcome addition to the organization.

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The draft is days away, and yet, it’s so unpredictable with the coronavirus putting everything on pause. It’ll be one to remember, for sure.