Rewarded: Corbin Burnes
It would have been so easy to give up on Corbin Burnes after his 2019 season. No one could have blamed the Brewers. Burnes put up an 8.82 ERA in 49 IP with 17 home runs allowed. Nothing was working for him.
Numerous teams reached out to the Brewers about trading for Burnes, giving the team some immediate help in 2019 and taking an underperforming pitcher off their hands.
But David Stearns and the Brewers had faith in the young right-hander.
They held on to him, despite overtures from other teams, believing that Burnes could still reach his enormously high ceiling.
In 2020, they rolled him out in the rotation yet again, looking for better results. Honestly, it would’ve been difficult to have worse results than what happened in 2019.
But what he actually brought was better than any expectation. He finished sixth in NL Cy Young voting and posted a 2.11 ERA. He became the go-to ace of the rotation down the stretch in 2020.
In 2021, he’s gotten even better, now sporting a 1.97 ERA in 59.1 IP with 94 strikeouts and just seven walks allowed. He’s had some deep no-hit bids and broke MLB’s record for most strikeouts without a walk allowed to begin a season.
Burnes was unpitchable in 2019. They took him off the field and put him into the pitching lab in Arizona for a few weeks that season to figure things out. Few guys that get pulled from playing during the season due to poor performance ever get more chances beyond that. The Brewers gave him one and he’s rewarded them for it.
Burnes was far from a guarantee to succeed, and even at the lowest moments, they had faith, and now everyone can see why. They could’ve sold low, and gotten something for him, but instead, they have a co-ace alongside Brandon Woodruff.