Saturday, August 15, 2015

Braves Add Another Ex-Yankee

Among the many front office additions last offseason was Gordon Blakely, who had been a Farm Director with the Yankees along with Vice President of Pro Scouting. His focus was on the international market where his input went into making the final decisions on players such as Robinson Cano and Orlando Hernandez. So, it probably shouldn't be surprising that the Braves have acquired a number of Yankees since. The Manny Banuelos trade where the Braves sent relievers David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve to the Yankees for the southpaw stands out, but Atlanta also tried Zoilo Almonte and pitchers Francisco Rondon and Jairo Heredia. Neither of those three stuck around for too long, but all three were international signings by the Yankees before they began their career.

Atlanta will get a look at another former Yankees pitcher, though this one was drafted and not signed on the international market. Former St. John's righty Danny Burawa was claimed by the Atlanta Braves on waivers Friday.

Burawa joined the Yankees after being a 12th round pick in 2010. He waited the Yankees out and eventually signed for $300K - which is about fifth round money. Over five seasons with the Yankees system, Burawa has produced at times and holds a decent strikeout rate of 8.7 per nine innings, but has struggled often with control. He missed almost all of 2012 due to injury, returning to play in the Arizona Fall League before pitching pretty solidly, though a 5.7 BB/9 will limit the interest. In fact, the Braves could have had him after the 2013 season after he was left exposed in the Rule 5 draft, but Atlanta passed. Burawa had similar results the following year, though a move from AA to AAA saw Burawa become more hittable. Still, this time, the Yankees protected him.

The righty opened the year in AAA before getting a callup to the majors for one game. He retired only two of the six he faced and gave up one of J.D. Martinez's three homers that day. He quickly returned to AAA, but was demoted briefly to AA to, it appears, stretch him out. They also subsequently designated him for assignment, leading to the Braves acquiring him.

Burawa is not all that dissimilar to a variety of pitchers the Braves have looked at. In fact, it's almost as if the Braves brought back John Cornely right down to a bad outing in their only major league game. As for a scouting report, Burawa depends on a fastball that gets natural sink - something we have seen a lot from Braves pitchers over the last few years. When that fastball is working, he can keep it comfortably in the 93-96mph range. He used to throw a change-up - and may have brought it back lately with the Yankees using him a starter. When he's not pumping in fastballs, he goes to a curveball that has some bite to it, but he hasn't shown consistent ability to utilize it for outs.

Moving forward, Burawa is yet another option for the 2016 pen. He has some potential which is exactly why he has stuck around this long, but the issues with his delivery and whether or not he can consistently command his pitches make him a fringe option - where he has a lot of company. He's deserving of a look, especially when there's precious little cost, but I doubt we'll see too much of him either in 2016 or beyond.

Here is a video that probably came from the 2013 season when Burawa was with Trenton.


You can follow Burawa on Twitter at @dannyburawa

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