CLEVELAND, Ohio – If the Indians’ picks in the 2016 Major League Baseball draft provided some sort of blueprint for 2020, then the tribe could have found a future starting spin at Auburn, right-hander Tanner Burns.
Indians grabbed Burns with No. 36 overall pick in Wednesday’s MLB draft draft pick Wednesday after selecting Arizona Carson Tucker’s quickstop at # 23 in the first round.
Burns, 21, matches the profile of pitchers taken in this very successful Cleveland project in 2016, including college prospects Aaron Civale (third round), Shane Bieber (fourth round) and Zach Plesac (12th round). The Decatur, Alabama, native is from a larger program than the Tribe 2016 trio, but is very similar to Civale, Bieber and Plesac when it comes to his professional approach to the game.
“Not only has he been a workaholic, but he has been an extreme competitor,” said Indian Amateur Screening Director Scott Barnsby of Burns. “He always takes the ball. “
Burns does not detonate his hitters with his fastball, which he is at around 92-93 mph and has reached 96, but he has the ability to miss bats with two different brittle balls, and has accumulated withdrawals at stick in record numbers in three seasons for the Tigers.
In high school, he was selected as Mr. Baseball of Alabama and won the State Gatorade Player of the Year Award in 2017. He was selected in the 37th round that year by the Yankees, but chose to go to Auburn instead.
As a freshman, Burns teamed up with Detroit world number one Casey Mize in 2018 to give Auburn a powerful 1-2 punch at the top of their rotation. He pitched 86 2/3 innings and struck out 77 batters and posted seven wins and a BPM of 3.01 that year.
The following season, Burns was part of the USA Baseball Collegiate national team where he gained experience playing alongside future MLB top picks Adley Rutschman (Orioles), Spencer Torkelson (Tigers) and Max Meyer ( Marlins).
He tied the school record for strikeouts in a game on March 1, 2019 when he drew 15 batters in a two-shutout against Cincinnati. His junior year ended early due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he finished with a 2.86 MPM and 210 punches in 188 2/3 college innings.
Barnsby said the Indians counted on a solid relationship between their Alabama scout, C.T. Bradford and Butch Thompson, Auburn’s head coach as they explore Burns’ background. Barnsby said the club particularly prefers Burns’ “growth mindset” when it comes to analyzing his own performance.
“He’s constantly, after each outing, heading to the coaches office, talking, trying to figure out how he can improve, figuring out how he can improve specific terrains, figuring out his plan of attack,” said Barnsby.
Based on his height (6 feet, 205 pounds), Burns has made comparisons with the current Reds starter Sonny Gray with his ability to throw brittle balls at varying speeds which he can locate on both sides of the plate and he’s working to develop a third step change.
This profile leads to sustainability issues, as Burns faced shoulder problems in 2019 and saw its effectiveness decline at the end of the season at Auburn in the past. Barnsby said Indian medical staff carefully examined Burns before making him number 36 on Wednesday.
“We assess everything,” said Barnsby. “We are really comfortable with everything we have on Tanner. We are pretty confident that he will go out and throw a lot of heats for us and be successful. ”
New Indian masks for sale: Here’s where you can buy Cleveland Indian-themed face covers for protection from coronaviruses, including a single mask ($ 14.99) and a pack of 3 ($ 24.99). All profits from MLB are donated to charity.
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