The changeup has been an afterthought in Burnes’ arsenal. It was another pitch that got battered last season, garnering a .455 wOBA over just a few dozen pitches.
Burnes has only thrown his curveball about 100 times in his career, and it has thus far been tattooed. A career .442 wOBA leaves a great deal to be desired, even if he’s fallen victim to a high BABIP.
In 2018, Burnes’ success came on some batted-ball luck; regression was expected, but not to the degree that the pitch fell off in 2019. With a -17 pVAL and a .520 wOBA, the pitch was a disaster. The hope is that the pitch can be better, even if not returning to its 2018 form.
Burnes’ slider showed great improvement in 2019, and finished as his only offering with a positive pVAL in his rocky season. The pitch had a 35% SwStr rate and held opposing hitters to just a .188 BAA
Burnes made his debut for the Brewers in July, showing off his blazing fastball. Averaging 95.3 mph, he carried a solid heater that limited walks (4.3 BB%) and flashed strikeout potential (18.1 K%).
This pitch has its highs and lows. On the positive side, it qualifies as a Money Pitch with 47.1% O-swing, 46.7% zone, and 24.6% swinging-strike rates, while also boasting a 37.5% strikeout rate. On the negative side, Burnes allowed three of his four home runs off this pitch, with a 30% HR/FB ratio and a .256 ISO.
This pitch has promise, as Burnes has good vertical and horizontal movement on it. However, it did not fool batters, as he did not register a punchout with this pitch and opponents hit .429. He will get more appearances in 2019, and possibly that means we will see a more dangerous hook from the 24-year-old.