The Cleveland Indians selected Tanner Burns with the Competitive Balance Round A (36th overall) in the 2020 MLB Draft.

Tanner Burns- Right-Handed Pitcher

School: Auburn – Age: 21.5 – Height: 6’0 – Weight: 215 – Bats: Right – Throws: Right


Baseball America- 26

Fangraphs- 56 28

IBI- 42

Willie Hood: A quality performer in the Southeastern Conference Tanner Burns was a highly regarded prep arm coming out of high school. Burns was drafted in the seventeenth round by the New York Yankees but was deemed unsignable in that range. The young right-hander is described as a “workhorse” by Baseball America and displays a competitive bulldog mentality on the mound. Burns is physically short and stout. He is compared to former SEC star Sonny Gray by because of the similar profiles. While Burns lacks upward projection he is an intriguing combination of present stuff and ability to ascend quickly toward the big leagues because of his advanced pitchability. Burns is a strike-thrower with the ability to minimize walks throughout his career (see more here). 

The Auburn University product sits low-to-mid 90’s and touches 97 on occasion. Burns displays advanced pitchability pitching off of his fastball primarily and mixing in both his slider and changeup. The right-hander’s best secondary offering is an above-average slider in the high-70’s to low-80’s that flashes plus. The slider is a slurvy appearing pitch that moves horizontally like a slider and vertically like a curveball. His changeup sits in low-80’s and is an average looking pitch with a horizontal drop. Burns locates well allowing him to sequence his pitches displaying his advanced pitchability. The right-hander should progress quickly toward the big leagues with potential for a number 3 starter with number 4 starter more probable.

Jeff Ellis: Tanner Burns is a pitcher who fits the Indians mold and is a type they have had a ton of success with. He has a three-pitch mix highlighted by a mid 90s fastball. He throws a slider, which is his best secondary offering, and has a change that is well developed as a third pitch. He was one of the top pitchers in the SEC as a sophomore. Burns had a walk per nine of 2.39 and a strikeout per nine of 11.39. The Indians prefer pitchers with a double-digit strikeout per nines with walks per nine-under three. The concern here is he wore down late in the college season during his freshman and sophomore years. The Indians knew this was a concern, so spoke to the faith their medical team has in Burns. If he can hold up as a starter, this is a steal and would have been a top 20 talent on my board. If not, then you have a multi-inning reliever or an opener. Barring injury, he feels like a near slam dunk future major leaguer. – Read more from Jeff here

Press Release: The Cleveland Indians today announced the selection of RHP TANNER BURNS with the 36th overall pick (Competitive Balance round A) of the 2020 MLB Draft.

Burns, 21, was selected out of Auburn University, where he made four starts in an abbreviated junior season, going 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA (22.1IP, 15H, 8R/6ER) and 32 strikeouts against just seven walks. Entering the 2020 campaign, the six-foot, 205-pound right-hander was named to the Golden Spikes Award preseason watch list and selected as a preseason All-SEC Team member, while also being named to Preseason All-American lists by Baseball America and Perfect Game. Across his three-year Tigers career, Burns has gone 14-9 with a 2.86 ERA (188.2IP, 153H, 84R-60ER) with 210 strikeouts against 67 walks. During his sophomore campaign, he joined RHP Casey Mize (2017-18) as just the second Auburn pitcher over the last 20 seasons to reach the century mark in strikeouts (101).

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