A native of Rocky Point, NY, Danny Burawa was drafted by the Yankees in the 12th round of the 2010 First-Year Player Draft. He came into the minor leagues from college where he attended St. John's University in New York City. In his first season with the Yankees he played in Staten Island and was promoted to play in Charleston in 2011.
Burawa's performance in Staten Island left him highly disappointed. The right-handed pitcher said that it had been an overwhelming time changing teams and adjusting to minor league life. Overall, he was not happy with how he was throwing or the numbers that he posted. However, Spring Training this year proved to snap him out of the funk he was in during 2010.
"As bad as last year was, Spring Training was that good," beamed Burawa. "I knew I had made the improvements I needed to make to do a lot better this year.
"I have Coach Carlos Chantres to thank for that. He worked with me every day. My mechanics are consistent and my pitches are consistent. I couldn't be happier with how Spring Training went."
RiverDogs pitching coach Carlos Chantres worked on drills throughout Spring Training to improve Burawa's delivery. Chantres made it a point to make Burawa understand that throwing the same way every time will result in consistently throwing strikes. Burawa was also working on the slider, a secondary pitch to his fastball.
"It's been a consistent pitch," Chantres said of Burawa's slider. "To me sometimes it's a big league pitch, but I think that he needs to use it a little more. He's staying on his fastball which is fine because he's throwing it past these guys at 95 mph, but it's a pitch that he's going to have to use at higher levels."
"It's great," stated Burawa of his two-pitch mix. "My whole life I've joked that I have one and a half pitches because I've always had a good fastball and an inconsistent slider. Now I can definitely say that I have two go-to pitches and I'm very happy."
As Chantres mentioned Burawa's fastball is something to be praised. It is the pitch that he has been throwing the longest and one that works. Chantres commented that it seems like every time Burawa throws it, hitters are making little to no contact. Burawa's solid fastball and now consistent slider are definitely tools that any coach would like to see in their relief pitcher's arsenal.
"I've struggled with command my whole life, but I'm just not walking people anymore," explained Burawa of the difference between the 2010 and 2011 seasons. "I couldn't be happier about it. I'm getting ground balls and it's a lot easier to pitch and do well when you're not giving away free bases."
So far with the RiverDogs he has a 3.08 ERA with 22 strikeouts and has also recorded three saves. With such great throwing going on, the new challenge for Burawa will be to work on his changeup.
It is a pitch that he has only thrown once this season prior to this current road trip. Because going from one to two pitches helped him, he believes that going from two to three would be that much better. If he can add his changeup as a consistent third pitch, he should have the potential to move up through the minors with ease.
"Perfecting his delivery and throwing quality strikes down the zone," said Chantres of what he wants to see from Burawa to get promoted. "And of course he has to stay healthy, that's the key to this game. If he stays healthy and does what he's doing now, he can get there quick."
Although Chantres had a positive outlook for Burawa's future, Burawa remained modest about moving up to the next level. His mature outlook showed that he is not taking for granted the opportunities he has presented to him at the moment.
"I don't really like to think about getting moved up," mentioned Burawa. "I feel like if you make that a goal then you're not really looking at what's right in front of you.
"I just like to think of every game individually. Whatever batter is in the batter's box, I just care about getting them out and helping the team."
Staying Consistent is Key for Burawa
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