With a stellar senior season at Beech High School in Tennessee, Chase Burns has put himself firmly in the top 10 among prep pitchers entering the MLB Draft. Some teams prefer college arms especially early in the draft, but the upside of the big right-hander is undeniable and there is a chance he cracks the first round.
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Chase Burns, RHP, Beech HS (TN)
Weight: 210 lbs.
High School Stats: 43.1 IP, 0.81 ERA, 0.60 WHIP 106/14 K/BB rate
Burns put himself on the map last summer when he popped triple digits on the showcase circuit. He followed that up with an excellent senior year at Beech HS. The 18-year-old is committed to Tennessee, but if he is selected in the top 50, which I think he will be, Burns won’t be walking onto campus this fall.
When you can throw a fastball at 100 mph, you are going to turn some heads. Burns can do that as an 18-year-old, although he generally sits in the mid-90s. It also has some decent ride to it and it plays well at the top of the zone. His slider has good horizontal movement, and he throws it 82-86. It is a solid weapon against right-handers and he can backdoor it against lefties. Burns has good control over his curve and can throw it for strikes. It is an upper-70s offering and a good third pitch with a significant velocity difference off his heater.
He has an easy delivery without too much effort and engages his strong lower half very well. Burns has good mechanics by using his legs which takes some stress off of his arm. The Tennessee prepster is also built for innings at 6-foot-4 and 210 pounds with even more filling out to do.
Burns, like most prep pitchers, has some work to do on his command. While he can throw his top three pitches for strikes, they get flat at times and can catch too much of the plate. His changeup flashes average but often has little movement to it. While his delivery is strong and repeatable, his arm action is a bit long which allows the hitter to pick up the ball earlier. Some scouts also believe he has reliever risk due to the long delivery and some max effort on his fastball.
Pro Comparison: Jon Gray
Burns is the same size as the Colorado Rockies’ starter. They also have a similar pitch mix with Gray throwing a fastball-slider-curveball combination. Both pitchers bring their fastball at about 95 mph on average. Gray has shortened up his arm action more recently and incorporated a changeup in his last couple of seasons. Burns has the potential to be even better, especially if his home games aren’t in Coors Field.
Draft Projection: Round 1, Pick 35, Cincinnati Reds
Burns has the potential to be dominant. He is just out of High School and maybe a little raw, but he already shows good feel and with some refinement over the next couple of years, could turn into an ace. Plus, we all know the Reds have no problem drafting flamethrowing High School pitchers (see Hunter Greene). I have them taking Gavin Williams at number 30 and along with Burns, Greene, and Nick Lodolo, Cincinnati’s rotation could be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
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