One of the most intriguing things about the MLB Draft is that greatness can come from anywhere. No matter the drafting position, players can be turned into franchise cornerstones. New York Mets superstar Jacob deGrom was taken 272nd overall in the 2010 Draft. Former Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel was taken 221st in 2009. For Beech (TN) High School’s Chase Burns, the journey to the big leagues may not begin in the top 10. He’s ranked 39th overall, so it might not even be in the top 15 or 20. Falling to the second round is yet another possibility. However, he possesses many qualities that could intrigue teams looking for a big right handed arm. The Let’s examine his arsenal and see exactly how much potential he has.
When it comes to strengths, one word describes Chase Burns: velocity. The young right-hander has consistently hit 100 MPH with his fastball. It’s also his highest graded pitch at a 65. This is combined with an above average curveball and cutter. Utilizing these advantages, he went 3-0 during his senior year with a sparkling 0.81 ERA. He allowed a meager 12 hits and struck out 106 batters in 43.1 innings. Opponents hit .082 against him and got on base at a .173 clip. Control does not seem to be too large of an issue, either. His 14 walks led to a rate of 2.9 BB/9. While that number is average, when compared to his strikeout totals, his K/BB is 7.57, which is outstanding. So, while it may not be a major problem, it’s also something that could turn into a massive strength. In short, he has major league material.
In terms of weakness, Chase Burns has one pitch that has been marked well below the others. His changeup registers at a 45. According to MLB.com, it looks more like a “batting practice fastball at times.” If he can learn how to control this pitch, he could be considered one of the top young arms in the draft. Combining this with his lightning quick fastball and devious cutter might pay dividends in the big leagues. His arm action presents a bit of a problem from a bullpen perspective. So teams searching for future relief help should probably search somewhere else. He’s also been showing a lot of labor when he delivers a pitch. Other than that, Burns does not have many holes.
Big League Comparison
As far as big league comparisons are concerned, one player that comes to mind is deGrom himself. His ability to work the zone with a high velocity while remaining quick off the mound have been well documented. A career walk rate of 24% and a career K/9 rate of 10.6 are perfect examples of this. He’s having a legendary 2021 campaign (0.62 ERA, 623 ERA+ in 58 IP). Despite the chasm between high school and the big leagues, Burns’s senior campaign was much the same.
However, their pitch arsenals are vastly different. So, despite the stats, the player that Burns more closely resembles is St. Louis Cardinals righty Adam Wainwright. Over the past few seasons, he has developed a cutter in conjunction with his solid curveball. In fact, he now throws his cutter 22.7% of the time and his curveball 33.4% of the time. Burns and Wainwright have a lot in common from a pitch arsenal standpoint. All in all, Chase Burns has every tool necessary to succeed in the big leagues. His blistering fastball and solid cutter could form a devastating combination for opposing hitters. While his changeup remains an issue, it has not hindered him from being one of the best arms in the draft.
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