Today’s entry to the 2020 Major League Baseball Draft Scouting Report series (you can read all of the reports here) is for Tanner Burns, a right-handed starter out of Auburn. He’s currently rated as the #26 prospect in the draft by Baseball America, the #67 prospect by Fangraphs, and #28 by MLB Pipeline.

The 2018 Season

After being selected by the Yankees in the 37th round of the 2017 draft, Tanner Burns passed on signing and headed off to join Auburn’s rotation. As a freshman he went 7-4 while making 17 starts. He would throw 86.2 innings with a 3.01 ERA, 37 walks, and 77 strikeouts.

The 2019 Season

As a sophomore, Tanner Burns took a step forward, though his record of 4-4 didn’t reflect it. He made 15 starts and 1 relief appearance, posting a 2.82 ERA in 79.2 innings. He cut down on the home run total, dropped his walk rate with just 23 free passes, and his strikeout rate jumped up significantly as he fanned 101 of the 331 hitters he faced.

The 2020 Season

The 2020 season was going well for Tanner Burns before the season was shut down. He had made 4 starts with a 2.42 ERA, throwing 22.1 innings with 2 homers allowed, walking just 7 batters, and he had struck out 32.

Tanner Burns College Stats

(stats while at Auburn)

Tanner Burns Video

Tanner Burns Scouting Report

Height: 6′ 0″ | Weight: 215 lbs

Bats: Right | Throws: Right

Position(s): Right-handed Starting Pitcher

Tanner Burns doesn’t come off as “great” in any one area that jumps off of the scouting report, but he’s good everywhere and better than that in some areas. His fastball works in the 91-94 range and can get up to 97 at the peak on his best days. The pitch gets better grades than the velocity suggests because he can throw it where he wants to when he wants to. He’ll mix in an above-average curveball that he also controls well, along with a change up that flashes above-average at times.

Where the concern could be

While it’s not a profile that’s entirely uncommon in the Majors, Tanner Burns is a 6′ 0″ starting pitcher, which will usually get a few scouts on the “does he had the size to start” train. But beyond that with Burns, he’s not shown that he’s a guy who tends to go deep into games while he’s pitched at Auburn. And as MLB Pipeline also noted in their report, his stuff has dipped as the season has gone on.

Burns lacks size and while he’s strong and athletic, he comes with durability concerns because of his shoulder issues as a sophomore and a history of seeing his stuff dip later in the season.

While we seem to be in an era where starting pitchers aren’t expected to go 7 innings too often anymore, this matters a little bit less than it did 10 or 20 years ago. But having seen stuff drop off in a college year where he’s never thrown 90 innings despite pitching once a week could, and probably should leave some concerns.