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2017 MLB Draft Profile: Tanner Burns, RHP, Decatur, Alabama

Hard-throwing Alabama high schooler Tanner Burns could get into the first round of the 2017 MLB Draft

Adding to our catalog of player profiles for the 2017 MLB Draft, let’s take a look at right-handed pitcher Tanner Burns, yet another candidate for the back part of the first round.


Tanner Burns is a high school pitcher from Decatur, Alabama. He comes from a baseball family: his father Mike coaches at Calhoun Community College and was a minor league player himself. Tanner has been a showcase presence since 2013 and scouts are quite familiar with him. He is committed to Auburn University for college ball.


Burns is listed at 6-0, 210, a right-handed hitter and thrower, born December 28th, 1998.

Although “short” for a right-hander and stockily-built he has no shortage of athleticism and strength, with a fastball at 92-96 MPH. He is not a mere thrower: he also has a plus breaking ball, identified as either a hard curve or slider. Both the fastball and breaking ball earn 60-grades. His change-up needs more development but he’s progressed with it and it should be at least average in time.

Burns has better control than most young power pitchers and is a confident presence on the mound. His bloodlines definitely show. He is also a prospect as a right-handed power hitter, testifying to his overall athletic ability and feel for the game.


Burns doesn’t have much physical projection remaining and is unlikely to gain further velocity points. That’s not exactly a weakness given that he already throws hard, but it means he also has less room for improvement compared to many pitchers his age. Although he repeats his mechanics well, it isn’t a low-effort delivery and some observers worry about long-term injury risk. That’s a concern for any young pitcher, of course.


Projecting as a number three starter or a power bullpen arm, Burns could go in the back half of the first round, supplemental round, or early in the second. If he drops too far on draft day, college at Auburn could become an option.