When Eric Lauer was optioned to the alternate training site earlier this week, a vacancy opened up in the starting rotation for the Milwaukee Brewers. Though the club did not necessarily need to fill that void until August 22nd based on how their schedule shakes out, the decision was made to re-insert Corbin Burnes into an initial out-getter role. After the off-day on Monday, Burnes will get the ball for game one of the road series against Minnesota.
Corbin Burnes rejoins the Brewers rotation on Tuesday at the Twins. pic.twitter.com/bWcxHwvSG8— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) August 16, 2020
Burnes has made one start this season, working 3.1 innings while allowing one run against the Cubs on July 25th. But he has worked multiple innings in his other three outings, as well, pitching 3.2, 5, and 3.2 frames in his appearances out of the bullpen. Overall, Burnes has been extremely hard to square up, allowing just a .151 batting average against. He’s had some walk problems, issuing 11 of them in 16.0 innings, but he also has 24 strikeouts and owns a 3.38 ERA accompanied by a 3.39 FIP.
According to data from Pitch Info via Fangraphs, some arsenal changes may be helping to drive Burnes’ success. He’s greatly reduced his four-seam usage while upping his sinker selections, has added a cutter to his repertoire, and has increased the amount of changeups he throws while decreasing his sliders. Burnes has so far been able to avoid the home issues that plagued him last season, yielding just one long ball among the 66 batters that he’s faced. According to Statcast data from Fangraphs, Burnes has sliced his hard hit percentage by nine points down to 31%.
Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs