Scouting Yankees Prospect #35: Danny Burawa

The Yankees drafted right-handed pitcher Danny Burawa in the 12th round of the 2010 MLB Draft out of St. John's University. A power arm from day one, he's battled some inconsistencies and some nagging injuries coming up through the minor leagues to slowly emerge as one of the more intriguing relief pitching prospects in the entire farm system.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Danny Burawa
Position: Pitcher
DOB: December 30, 1988
Height: 6'3"
Weight: 190
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

He missed the entire 2012 season with a torn oblique and bounced back with a very respectable showing in 2013, posting a 2.59 ERA for the Double-A Trenton Thunder, including a ridiculous 0.38 ERA over his final 18 appearances that year after he was able to shake off the rust.

Burawa carried that momentum with him into the start of the 2014 campaign too, not allowing an earned run in his first ten appearances with Triple-A Scranton and striking out 20 batters in a little more than thirteen innings. But, as he was prone to do in previous seasons, he struggled with an inconsistent delivery, shaky command, and the results became quite sporadic.

He posted an 8.23 ERA over his final 21 appearances for Triple-A Scranton, causing a demotion back down to Double-A Trenton where he righted the proverbial ship at season's end, posting 1.59 ERA in eleven Eastern League appearances.

With a 2.39 career Double-A ERA thus far and more strikeouts than innings pitched he has proven to be both electric and reliable on the mound when he's pitching with confidence. He just now needs to prove to be that very same pitcher at Triple-A and above.

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2014

Scranton

3-1

5

42.1

47

26

55

5.95

2014

Trenton

0-0

1

17.0

14

4

18

1.59

2013

Trenton

6-3

4

66.0

47

42

66

2.59

2011

Tampa

2-2

2

39.1

41

9

31

3.66

2011

Charleston

3-2

3

44.2

36

15

35

3.63

2010

Staten Island

0-0

0

7.0

8

7

10

7.71



Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. Blessed with one of the best arms in all of professional baseball, Burawa is the epitome of a power pitcher. He will sit anywhere from 95-97 mph with a heavy, sinking two-seam fastball and will occasionally even top at 100 mph. Like most elite sinking fastballs it gets a ton of movement, it's tough for hitters to barrel up, and it's also incredibly hard to control in the strike zone. Therefore while the sheer velocity makes it a plus-plus pitch, it can play at an average or below level when he's not commanding it.

Other Pitches. Burawa also has consistency problems with his slider too. It is an above average big league pitch when it's going right, coming in 85-87 mph with good darting action. When he tries to get too much action, however, almost throwing it from the side to get more sweeping action, it tends to get loopy and sits more in the 82-83 mph range. Like his fastball though, his command of his slider can evade him for long stretches at a time. He rounds out his repertoire with a decent changeup he seldom throws, a pitch he uses more as a show-me pitch to keep hitters honest.

Pitching. Despite averaging roughly a strikeout per inning pitched in his career thus far, Burawa is actually built for contact. His plan is to get batters to ground out to his defense behind him and because of that efficient approach he is able to pitch multiple innings at a time and even in back to back days. However, he gets a little messed up mechanically at times and mostly it's been due to his own undoing as he tends to over-think things on the mound and try too hard to make the perfect pitch. He often times gives opposing batters way too much credit and that leads to far too many walks. He does have real double-play inducing ability, however, so he can help negate his walks and he's extremely adept at keeping the ball in the yard so he can also neutralize the damage that way as well. When he attacks batters though and naturally just goes with the flow of the game he works extremely quickly, and can easily get into quite the rhythm.

Projection. With one of the best sinking fastballs in the game today and able to compliment it with a very good slider at times Burawa can be flat-out dominant on the mound and his big league setup man or closer-like potential is easy to see, especially when he's trusting his stuff, pitching with confidence, throwing strikes, and limiting the walks. Perhaps more than most pitchers too, he is the real beneficiary of having a plus defender at shortstop as he gets many right-handed batters to ground the ball into the dirt in that direction. There are legitimate comparisons to former Orioles' reliever Jim Johnson for all of the aforementioned reasons but like Johnson, another rhythm pitcher, it could take Burawa a couple of years in the middle of the bullpen to find his groove and confidence before blossoming into more of a back-end bullpen role, and he could also battle some inconsistencies in his game along the way. Cutting down on the walks and believing in himself is needed to fulfill that kind of ceiling.

ETA. 2015. Burawa should be ticketed back for Triple-A Scranton in 2015. He will need to make the Triple-A adjustment soon though and pitch there like he has in Double-A in order to get his big league shot with the Yankees as the relieving depth for the Yankees is arguably at an all-time high.


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