10 things to know about new Tribe RHP Burns

June 11th, 2020

Here are 10 facts you should know about right-hander Tanner Burns, the Indians' second first-round selection at No. 36 overall:

• Burns will look to become the latest big league standout from Auburn University, following in the footsteps of Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, 2015 American League MVP , four-time All-Star and two-sport star Bo Jackson. Auburn also produced the No. 1 overall pick in 2018, with right-hander Casey Mize going to the Tigers.

• Burns comes from a baseball family, as his father, Mike Burns, played three seasons as a Minor Leaguer in the Astros organization from 1991-93.

• As a high schooler, Burns was voted Mr. Baseball by the Alabama Sports Writers Association in 2017. He also won the Gatorade Alabama Player of the Year Award the same year.

• Burns was selected in the 37th round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of high school by the Yankees, but he opted to attend Auburn.

• Burns made an immediate impact for Auburn, ranking second on the team behind Mize in innings (86 2/3), strikeouts (77) and wins (seven) while posting a 3.01 ERA as a freshman.

• The right-hander was part of the USA Baseball 2018 Collegiate National Team, alongside ‘19 first-round picks Adley Rutschman (selected first overall by the Orioles), Andrew Vaughn (third, White Sox), Josh Jung (eighth, Rangers), Shea Langeliers (ninth, Braves), Bryson Stott (14th, Phillies), Will Wilson (15th, Angels), Zack Thompson (19th, Cardinals) and Braden Shewmake (21st, Braves). Also part of the roster were 2020 first-round picks Spencer Torkelson (Tigers' first overall selection) and Max Meyer (Marlins' top pick at No. 3 overall).

• As a sophomore, Burns tied the Auburn record for strikeouts in a game, racking up 15 K’s in a two-hit shutout against Cincinnati on March 1, 2019. Mize (2018), Chris Bootcheck (1999), Hudson (’97), John Powell (‘94) and Mark Chapman (’86) also struck out 15 batters in a game for Auburn.

• Burns struck out 10 batters and allowed one hit over seven scoreless innings in what turned out to be his final start of the 2020 season, which came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In three years at Auburn, Burns owns a 2.86 ERA with 210 strikeouts in 188 2/3 innings.

• Burns comes with some durability concerns, as he lacks size (6 feet, 205 pounds), dealt with shoulder issues in 2019 and has a history of pitching with diminished stuff late in the season.

• At his best, Burns sits between 92-97 mph with his fastball, which he can locate to both sides of the plate, and throws a breaking ball that has proven to be a plus pitch at times. His changeup has a chance to become an average third offering. According to MLB Pipeline, Burns has drawn comparisons to Reds righty Sonny Gray, another pitcher from the Southeastern Conference. Gray measures in at 5-foot-10, a couple inches shorter than Burns.