A couple of days ago I wrote about what the addition of Manny Machado would mean for the Milwaukee Brewers and that I thought pursuing him was a good idea. Now I’m writing this article to offer you another perspective, and perhaps make Brewers fans feel better if things don’t work out with Machado.
I’d like to start by saying that acquiring Manny Machado is NOT a bad idea at all for the Brewers organization. How could it be? At the time of me writing this article, Machado has single handedly kept the Baltimore Orioles in the game against the New York Yankees by hitting two game-tying home runs. However, the Orioles have expressed that they would like to receive Corbin Burnes in exchange for Machado, and another thing that has happened tonight is Burnes, the Brewers number two prospect, has made his major-league debut. They allowed him to pitch only two innings, but in those two innings he showed a lot of potential.
Burnes is a 24 year old pitcher from Bakersfield, CA. He went to St. Mary’s College of California and played 19 games for the Triple-A team, the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, earlier this year where he had 13 starts, 78.2 innings pitched, with a 5.49 ERA. Those numbers aren’t great, but he definitely has the potential to be a strikeout threat since he struck out 23.62% (81 over 343 batters) of the batters he faced. He also limited the amount of long balls his opponents hit, only giving up 7 home runs to those 343 batters faced. The thing you should take away from all of this is that people aren’t hitting his pitches, and when they are, they aren’t smacking home runs. I would easily take Burnes over a handful of starters in the league right now (specifically Marcus Stroman).
Now, I know there’s only so much you can determine from Triple-A because the MLB is a completely different animal. However, I do know that no matter what league you pitch in, your pitches will be roughly the same and Burnes has an arsenal of pitches up his sleeve. In the pitches I saw him throw tonight, every fast ball was in the mid-nineties, which certainly cannot be said about other pitchers of the same caliber. He also has an absolutely filthy slider that brought in the third strike of his only strike-out tonight. Should he develop another breaking ball and perfect his slider, he will be the kind of pitcher that batters don’t want to see on the mound.
Honestly, it’s way too early to tell if Burnes will produce or not. However, even though the Brewers are missing a power bat at shortstop, the thing that I think is missing from their lineup that would make them serious National League Championship contenders is a great bullpen and turning away Manny Machado and developing Corbin Burnes could be one step towards having that.