Tigers make hurler Burrows top pick
High school right-hander boasts high-octane arm with secondary stuff
DETROIT -- For the second time in four years, the Tigers have taken a Texas high school pitcher with their top pick in the Draft. This time, it's hard-throwing right-hander Beau Burrows, who was a Draft surprise with the 22nd overall selection on Monday.
Burrows hails from Weatherford, Texas. He ranked 30th on MLB.com's list of Top 200 Draft prospects. He's also the kind of hard thrower the Tigers usually covet come Draft time.
"We scouted Beau Burrows as hard as anybody in the Draft," Tigers vice president of amateur scouting David Chadd said in a Tuesday morning conference call. "I saw him before Spring Training, I saw him after Spring Training, and we really, really like his ability. We think he has the potential to be a front-of-the-rotation type starter, and we really like him a lot."
That fastball tops out at 99 mph and consistently sits in the mid-90s. The breaking ball is a curveball that buckled Texas high school hitters.
"He's a got a really good changeup that we never throw but every so often, simply because we don't want to speed up high school bats," Weatherford High School coach Terry Massey told MLB.com. "When you're throwing 93-95, we're not going to use it much. And his curveball isn't bad."
It's an impressive repertoire for a 6-foot-2 teenager, but Burrows has been impressing his entire high school career.
"He actually started as a freshman for us on the mound," Massey said. "That's unusual, because here in our area at the 6A level, it's some really good baseball. To be a freshman, I think he went 10-1. The biggest thing is every year he got better, and the biggest thing he did this year that separated himself from the past is he threw probably 70-percent strikes. His command of the strike zone got so much better."
Between league games, postseason and exhibitions, Burrows went 10-3 in 15 starts as a senior, allowing eight runs on 35 hits over 78 innings, according to the GameChanger stats site. He walked 16 and struck out 147. He averaged seven-plus innings and 15 strikeouts a game over his final five starts, the last two in the state playoffs.
"I just saw him two weeks ago in a playoff atmosphere [throwing] 93-97," Chadd said. "He was 97 in the 7th. … After you get past the tools and the ability and the delivery and the arm action, and you're looking at how a pitcher competes, and there's no question how Beau competes. He really goes after it."
Burrows has committed to Texas A&M University, but the Tigers have a track record of convincing top high school Draft picks to sign, having done so with Rick Porcello, Jacob Turner, Nick Castellanos, Jake Thompson and Derek Hill in recent years. Thompson, too, was a highly-touted Texas high school pitcher.
Burrows is a projection pick, and he'll take time to develop. But with two first-round selections this season, the Tigers could afford to do some projecting.
The Draft continues on Tuesday with Rounds 3-10. The MLB.com preview show begins at 12:30 p.m. ET, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 3-10 beginning at 1 p.m. ET.