Prospect Burrows impressing in Minors

Right-hander will represent Tigers at Futures Game in Miami

July 6th, 2017

DETROIT -- The Tigers had every intention to exercise patience with former first-round pick Beau Burrows. After all, he's just a couple years removed from high school ball, and he spent most of last year figuring out who he is as a pro pitcher.
Burrows knows who he is now, and he's pretty good at it -- so good that his work forced the Tigers to push his timetable. He's now a 20-year-old at Double-A Erie, the Tigers' No. 3 prospect and a pitcher to watch at today's 2017 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in Miami.
"It's a heck of an honor," Tigers assistant general manager David Chadd said Wednesday. "We can't tell them who we want to put into the Futures Game; they select the players. But it's a good honor for him. Twenty years old and in the Futures Game and at Double-A is pretty good."
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It's a huge progression from where Burrows was a year ago, a teenager pitching at Class A West Michigan and facing college-age hitters while adjusting to the idea that the hard-throwing style that made him a top prospect in high school wasn't going to work anymore.
"In high school, I could blow it by everybody," Burrows said last summer. "These guys can hit fastballs here. You have to work in and out, up and down, all that stuff. You have to change speeds a lot, too. It's fun learning how to pitch now, definitely."
Burrows also worked under pitch and innings limitations that encouraged quick outs. The two-seam fastball that was an option for him growing up became a bigger part of his arsenal at West Michigan. His strikeout rate dropped from 10.6 per nine innings in the Gulf Coast League to 6.2 in the Midwest League, but he allowed just two home runs over 97 innings.
Likewise, the changeup went from a secondary pitch to a necessity.
"I pretty much came to the conclusion that they're going to hit the fastball, so I have to mix in the changeup," Burrows said. "It's all evolving. It's all coming along."
The Tigers kept Burrows at West Michigan for all of the 2016 season to let him evolve without pressure of a promotion. That learning process reflects in what he has done this season and how quickly he has adjusted.
Though Burrows had a 4-3 record over 11 starts at Class A Advanced Lakeland, his 1.23 ERA was dominant. The strikeouts returned, but the walk rate dropped, producing a 5.64 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
"With the success he was having in Lakeland, he was dominating at the lower level," Chadd said, "so we felt like as an organization, we had to challenge him. And he's been challenged. The higher you go, the finer line you have in pitching. He's dealing with that right now. He wasn't facing much adversity in Lakeland. We had to push him."
Along the way, Burrows has used Tigers starter as a role model. They started up a friendship last year in Spring Training and kept in touch, meeting up when Burrows visited Comerica Park on an off-day from West Michigan last summer. Fulmer won't pitch but will attend as a member of the American League squad at the All-Star Game on Tuesday night.
"It's awesome watching him do well," Burrows said last year. "I want to work on the things that he does."
The 2017 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game takes place today at 4 p.m. ET at Marlins Park in Miami and can be viewed live on MLB Network and