It’s safe to say that Corbin Burnes did not have the great 2019 that he, along with most Brewers fans expected him to have.
Burnes was expected to play a vital role as a starter in 2019 – with Brandon Woodruff & Freddy Peralta – after an outstanding rookie campaign where he pitched big in key moments during Milwaukee’s monumental run to the NLCS in 2018. However, Burnes struggled mightily in that role, especially giving up the long ball early on. Even after a demotion to the bullpen, Burnes continued to struggle, as he had a ERA that floated around 9. Between shuttles back and forth between San Antonio & Milwaukee – there’s one thing that Burnes lacked – and that was consistency. It was almost as if he was trying to do “too much,” – putting too much pressure on himself to deliver in key moments.
Now Corbin comes back after this offseason fired up and more ready than ever to take the next step for the Brew Crew. It’s believed that the Brewers still view Burnes as a starter – though it’s likely he has an outside chance of accomplishing that role for the team as new acquisitions of Josh Lindblom, Brett Anderson, and Eric Lauer coupled with established starters in Brandon Woodruff, Adrian Houser, and newly extended Freddy Peralta. But if it’s not in a starter’s role at least to begin the season, Burnes has the ability to get back into position where he thrived in 2018 – as a middle reliever more than capable of being depended upon for outs.
So far this spring, Burnes has gotten off to a good start – and it’s extremely encouraging. He was given some work on Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers where he pitched two clean innings with a couple of strikeouts to boost his Spring Training record so far to (2-0.) His other win this spring came off of the thrashing of the Oakland Athletics back on Monday. Corbin spent some time last season and even this offseason getting his mind back on track – almost kind of like hitting the “reset” button. Trusting what had worked in the past, between mechanics, velocity, and pitch selection.
I speak for many Brewers fans that hope this season is the true revenge season for Corbin. He still has the nastiness to be very, very good. I mean, who can forget his spin rate on his fastball? His slider is one of the best pitches in the game when it is on. He has my vote of confidence; Corbin has worked hard to try and improve upon last year’s struggles, and the sky is the limit for the former prospect.