Thursday, October 27, 2011

Arizona Fall League Scouting Report: Dan Burawa

Dan Burawa (Yankees RHP)

Age: 22 (turns 23 in December)

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 190lbs

12th round pick in 2010 out of St. John’s University

The kind of velocity Burawa brought to the table as an amateur is that of a player who typically goes much earlier than the twelfth round, but he came from an under-scouted region and fell into the lap of his hometown Yankees later than he probably should have. It’s also possible Burawa fell due to makeup issues. He was suspended early in his final collegiate season for reasons I cannot uncover. We all do stupid things in college (And in adulthood. Right, Catasauqua Police Department?) so I wouldn’t expect that to be an issue moving forward. Burawa signed for earlier round money ($300,000) and the Yankees sent Burawa to the AFL this year in hopes that he can polish up so they can start to get a return on that investment. I had no idea what to expect from Burawa as he trotted out of the Phoenix Muni bullpen last week and came away pleasantly surprised.


Burawa is becoming a bit of a porker. The weight listed above (which is the weight listed in the official AFL program) is likely a gross underestimate of Burawa’s gustatorial accomplishments. I describe him in my notes as, “Barrel Gutted”. He’s likely to widen as he ages. Does it matter? Not really. Burawa has always profiled as a reliever so it’s not as if he needs to maintain a high level of cardiovascular fitness in order to pitch multiple innings.


The fastball is plus, sitting in the 93-95mph range when I saw him. It lacked horizontal movement but had nice natural sink, a downward action that occurred late in the pitch’s path toward the plate. He coupled that with an average slider that is quite short but comes in hard, 84-87mph. As an amateur, Burawa sported a curve and changeup. It’s likely that at least one of those has been scrapped altogether while the other exits purely as a show-me pitch for lefties. Neither of those pitches was good when he threw them and I saw neither of them last week.


Burawa’s lower half is stiff and inflexible. He does not use it efficiently. As we move upward, the rotation in his hips generates considerable torque and adds to his velocity. The arm action is long and low, putting abnormal stress on the shoulder but it’s also the cause of the sink on his heater. There’s also noise above the shoulders, which is likely the cause of his poor command. These are sins one can live with since we’re just talking about a reliever here.


IP: 84 (not including AFL innings)
Strikeout to Walk Ratio: 2.75:1
Strikeouts per Nine Innings: 7.1
ERA- 3.64
FIP- 2.46


Dan Burawa is your typical one and a half pitch, nausea-inducing arm action pitcher who will make a nice middle reliever for a few years before either blowing out his shoulder or suffering from the sudden, precipitous decline that befalls so many relievers. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

Arizona Fall League 2011 Trip Primer

I'm back from my trip to the 2011 Arizona Fall League.  It was anything but the restful week I had anticipated it to be.  Of course, I loved it.  I can't say enough about how inherently cool the league is.  Below are the players I took notes on.  Expect scouting reports on these players either here, on Through The Fence Baseball (a website I was just hired by) or both. These are in no particular order.

Nate Baker
Chris Carpenter
Gerrit Cole
Terry Doyle
Marcus Hatley
Nevin Griffith
Brett Jacobson
Steve Johnson
Casey Lambert
Jake Petricka
Bruce Pugh
Dakota Watts
Michael Blanke
Brian Dozier
Junior Lake
DJ LeMahieu
Joe Mahoney
Tyler Saladino
Xavier Avery
Robbie Grossman
Aaron Hicks
Brandon Short
Josh Vitters
Anthony Bass
Robert Carson
Danny Hultzen
David Kopp
Tyler Lyons
Jason Hagerty
Matt Adams
Nick Franklin
Scooter Gennett
Jedd Gyorko
Ryam Jackson
Chih-Hsien Chang
Kentrail Davis
Jaff Decker
Logan Schafer
Oscar Taveras
Brad Boxberger
Dan Burawa
Anthony Capra
Andy Carnigan
Aaron Loup
Evan Crawford
Donnie Joseph
TJ Macfarland
David Phelps
Tyson Ross
Chase Whitley
Yasmani Grandal
Ryan Ortiz
Adeiny Hechevarria
Corban Joseph
Ronnier Mustelier
Michael Choice
Anthony Gose
Grant Green
Steve Ames
Charlie Brewer
Casey Crosby
Andy Oliver
Cole St. Clair
Josh Wall
Jason Castro
Nolan Arenado
Dixon Machado
Ben Paulsen
Ryan Wheeler
Jay Austin
Adam Eaton
Tim Wheeler
Dave Carpenter
Tyler Cloyd
Jacob Diekman
Austin Fleet
Stephen Harrold
Pat Lehman
Daryl Maday
Matt Purke
Sammy Solis
Andrew Taylor
Colby Shreve
Dan Tillman
Hank Conger
Derek Norris
Brandon Crawford
Will Middlebrooks
Cody Overbeck
Joe Panik
Jean Segura
Gary Brown
Tyson Gillies
Bryce Harper
Mike Trout
Alex Hassan
Sean Gilmartin
Adam Libatore
Brendan Lafferty
Ryan Kelly
Yohan Yam
Kevin Mattison
Tim Beckham
Wil Myers
Matt Dominguez
Chistian Bethancourt
Leury Garcia

That's a lot and I probably missed some.  As always my primary goal is to please my readers.  So, if there's an Arizona Fall League prospect whose report you'd like me to prioritize feel free to post in the comment section or email me at  For now, I'm going to get some much needed rest and will start writing guys up tomorrow.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A Reaction to the Phillies Loss

I, like many Phillies fans, am sad and angry.  I am not, however, sad and angry for the same reasons all of you are, which makes me sadder.

There once was a young boy who loved ice cream.  Of course, lots of people love ice cream.  Everyone who isn’t lactose intolerant loves ice cream, and even those poor bastards would love it if they could.  But this boy loved ice cream so much that he became interested in exactly how the ice cream was made.  Are there weird flavors out there? What ingredients go into it? Does the quality of the cow impact the quality of the ice cream? How can we identify those cows? He started to become so obsessed with ice cream that he no longer enjoyed eating ice cream. Instead he enjoyed the art of ice cream making. 

This is what has happened to me with baseball.  I’ve become so immersed in the art of baseball processes that the results of those processes no longer impact me on an emotional level.  I felt this coming in 2008 when the Phillies won the World Series.  Eric Hinske struck out, I high fived my roommate, and then sat down on the couch with a smile on my face.  That was all.  I did not shotgun a beer with my next door neighbors.  I did not sprint aimlessly about the streets of Philadelphia.  I did not become overly emotional.  I don’t admonish those of you who did celebrate with the sort of epicurean fiesta a fan base deserves to enjoy when their team wins a championship.  Trust me, I really wanted to join all of you, I just couldn’t.  Instead I sat on my couch, not overjoyed, merely content.  I remember being consciously disappointed that I wasn’t enjoying the sports orgasm I thought it would be. It felt good, just not nearly as good as I had hoped.

Fast forward to last night.  The Phillies lose and I felt…tired? Exasperated? You know when it snows and you’re hoping to get off from school and instead you just have a 2-hour delay? It felt like that.  Nothing more.  It devastated me knowing that I wasn’t devastated by their loss. 

I know with each passing season I will grow increasingly numb to the Phillies’ exploits.  I don’t love baseball any less, it’s just a different kind of love.  If you told me, “Eric, you can have a job in a scouting department if you agree not to feel any emotion whatsoever for the Phillies ever again.” I’d make that trade in a heartbeat.  That’s why I’m desperate for them to win as soon as possible while I still feel something.

So forgive me for not being able to console you with my words here, but I don’t feel like you do right now.  I see and hear the output of your emotions and all I can do is work with that.  Forgive me if the following statements are a bit jumbled and random.  They are my responses to the outpouring of anger and sadness the fan base has begun to emit. 

The blame for this year’s loss can be spread across the roster like cream cheese on a bagel of shame.  Chase Utley made base running mistakes.  Ryan Howard and Hunter Pence didn’t get one base. Shane Victorino had defensive miscues. Carlos Ruiz and Placido Polanco were just plain awful.  That’s just the beginning of the list.

Please don’t say things like, “St. Louis just wanted it more.” Or “The Phillies just didn’t play hard enough.” That’s crazy.  Platitudes like that are thrown around by those who don’t know enough to come up with even the simplest analysis.  How about, “Wow, Chris Carpenter was really good.” He was.  Or, “Polanco looks too hurt to be useful.” Totally true.  Don’t think for one minute those guys didn’t want to win because they did.

The future is not bleak for the Phillies but it’s not the brightest, either.  The older players on the team are getting worse, not better.  The payroll is climbing to altitudes the likes of which we’ve never seen.  It’s going to be hard to retain guys like Ryan Madson (I’d let him walk) and Jimmy Rollins (I’d let him walk if he demands 3+ years). Young guys coming up? Sure, I like a bunch of them.  But sometimes we’re wrong about those guys.  If they’re going to win a World Series, the Phillies will need a sound process by which they make their decisions, relatively good health, luck, a few surprise performances from guys you wouldn’t expect it from and at some point will have to overcome some adversity. 

Can they do it? Sure.  Once you get to the playoffs the sample size is so small that anything can happen.  Hell, the Orioles finished 28 games out of first in the AL East.  That means they lost only 1 more game per week than the Yankees. So in a 7 game sample (the length of a series) the Orioles are 1 game worse than the Yankees.  The window is closing slowly for the Phillies.  Maybe by the time it slams shut, I won’t care at all.  Unless I have exchanged my love for the Phillies for a scouting job by then, I sure hope not.