Chase Burns excelled on the showcase circuit this summer. The Tennessee prep right-handed hurler dominated opposing hitters with his impressive four-pitch mix and displayed plenty of potential on the mound.
He grabbed the attention of professional scouts early in the summer. During the Under Armour All-American Game tryouts, Burns hit 101 mph on the radar gun. He maintained high-90s velocity the entire summer and had notable success with his off-speed pitches.
Burns was one of the top-performing pitchers on the showcase circuit this summer. His success was a boast to his confidence, he said.
“My confidence, it shot up,” Burns said. “I had a great summer. My name started blowing up, and it gave me a lot of confidence. I wasn’t always a top-ranked player or a great athlete, but I made a name for myself with hard work. My confidence went up because of that.”
Burns’ success against high-end prep hitters has vaulted him to the top of the 2021 prep class. Pro scouts believe Burns is one of the top prep pitchers in the 2021 MLB draft class and a potential first-round pick in July’s draft.
“People think it’s a lot of pressure, but I think it has been really fun to get my name out there and get the attention,” Burns said. “It doesn’t stop there, though. I have dreams of playing in the big leagues. With all the attention, I just don’t let it get it to me. I work as hard as I can.”
Burns is a 6-foot-1, 225-pound right-hander who throws a four-seam fastball, slider, curveball, and changeup from a high three-quarter arm slot. He has a longer arm action but features little effort in his delivery.
His fastball is his best pitch as it sits 96 to 99 mph and regularly hits 100 mph. He credits the triple-digit velocity to his offseason work, which consisted of dedicating time to improving his explosiveness and using weighted baseballs for the first time.
Burns’ best breaking pitch is his slider. It’s a wipeout pitch that sits 85 to 88 mph. He started throwing it when he was younger and has continued to refine it into a future plus pitch. His big breaking curveball is more of a get-me-over pitch that he regularly uses when hitters are sitting on his fastball.
His changeup has shown potential but is a work in progress that sits 85 to 86 mph. Burns said he needs to develop more confidence and consistency with his changeup.
Besides refining his pitches, Burns also wants to improve his control as he prepares for his senior season of high school baseball.
“The velocity is there,” Burns said. “Just being able to know what to throw to each batter is something I am working on. My mindset on the mound and my mobility also are things I am working on because you want to be as mobile on the mound as you can.”
Burns will likely have two options for the next step in his baseball career after high school. Besides being a top draft prospect, Burns also is a Tennessee commit. He committed to Tennessee in July 2019 due to his relationship with the coaching staff and its track record of developing talent for professional baseball.
Tennessee pitching coach Frank Anderson is one of the premier pitching coaches in the country. Anderson has had 82 pitchers selected in the draft during his career as a collegiate coach.
“I had a lot of SEC offers, but I thought that was the right fit for me due to my personality,” Burns said. “It’s an upcoming program, and I didn’t want to go to Vanderbilt, honestly. I wasn’t a big fan of them. Everyone wants to go to Vanderbilt. I want to beat them. I think when I talked with the coaches, we all connected.”
Burns will pitch for a new high school team his senior year after spending his first three years at Station Camp High School in Gallatin, Tennessee. He transferred to Beech High School in Hendersonville, Tennessee in the summer after his family relocated.
He said the transition to the new school has been smooth. He shut down after the Perfect Game All-American Classic, turning down a chance to play in the Under Armour All-American Game, and will start his throwing program in December.
Burns has high expectations for his senior season and hopes to finish his prep career on a positive note.
“One goal I have is I want to win state,” Burns said. “That has always been a big passion for me. I have never been that close to it, so I think winning state would be big. A personal goal is I want to hit 103 mph.”
Read more in-depth stories on top 2021 MLB draft prospects here.
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He’s interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.