Brewers Rumors: Is Corbin Burnes Trade Value Descending?

Oakland Athletics v Milwaukee Brewers
Oakland Athletics v Milwaukee Brewers / John Fisher/GettyImages

It is becoming increasingly popular around the league for players with 1.5 years of club control remaining to become trade deadline candidates. The Brewers pulled the trigger on a Josh Hader trade last year when he was at that point and now the Brew Crew have Corbin Burnes in the exact same situation.

Due to this speculation regarding a Corbin Burnes trade has been in the media for quite some time. With Milwaukee highly unlikely to retain him long term the biggest question out there is if the Brewers would be willing to go through with a second mid-season trade that could potentially shake up the club house again, dissatisfy the fan base, and significantly influence their post season chances.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic believes that Corbin Burnes trade value may currently be compromised. His latest piece leads one to believe that the Brewers should either A) strongly consider trading him this year or B) they held onto him for too long.

Milwaukee Brewers ace Corbin Burnes' trade value may be compromised due to his decreasing performance since winning the 2021 NL Cy Young Award.

In Ken Rosenthal's latest piece he looks at specific statistics to point out why Corbin Burnes trade value may be decreasing. He points out that his average fastball velocity has dropped from the 83rd percentile to the 75th to the 64th. His whiff rate has dropped from the 97th percentile to the 95th to the 72nd. And his strikeout rate has declined from 35.6% to 24.3%.

Those that watch the Brewers on a nightly basis can tell you that Burnes has struggled to put away batters via the strikeout this year. This was very apparent early on as through his first seven starts he struck out more than five batters only once. On the flip side, over his last four starts he has struck out seven to nine batters each time.

Another trend Ken Rosenthal points out is that Corbin Burnes is holding left-handed hitters to a .481 OPS this year whereas righties are at .734. Previously he held righties to a .471 OPS in 2021 and .593 OPS in 2022. Rosenthal concludes that Burnes' backdoor cutter is primary reason why he excels against left-handed hitters.

A further look at Burnes' pitch mix against left and right-handed batters shows that his sinker has been very bad against righties this year. He does not throw this pitch to lefties and opposing hitters have a .308 batting average against it and a .455 slugging percentage. On the flip side, he throws a changeup to lefties and that pitch has held batters to a .188 batting average and he's given up just one extra base hit with his changeup this year (.233 slugging percentage).

The starting pitcher trade market this year is short on supply and high on demand. If on the off chance the Brewers make Burnes available, he'll be able to fetch an incredibly high price because buying teams have so few options and none would top Burnes.

Time will tell if the Brewers hold onto Corbin Burnes or not, but the reality is his performance is not causing his trade value to decrease. This year several great starting pitchers, including last year's NL Cy Young winner Sandy Alcantara, have inflated ERA's. The addition of the pitch clock and other rules may be playing a factor in higher ERA's, but Burnes' numbers have been improving over the last month after he started the year off slow.

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