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Milwaukee Brewers’ Corbin Burnes is secret weapon

Corbin Burnes is unknown for now, but he’s the Milwaukee Brewers’ secret weapon this season and by this time in 2019, he will be a household name.

Despite the overall power of a team’s arsenal, it’s always helpful to have a secret weapon. For the Milwaukee Brewers, that hidden-in-plain-sight asset is mild-mannered, bespectacled pitcher Corbin Burnes (7-0, 2.61 ERA, 38 IP, 35 SO, 1.00 WHIP).

No one paying attention will forget the 2018 Brewers’ powerhouse bullpen and its eclectic cast of characters. A historic performance by Josh Hader, clutch pitching from Jeremy Jeffress and Joakim Soria, and a dramatic rebound from Corey Knebel top the bill.

But Corbin Burnes, only 24-years-old this month, is the most unexpected and stealthy force of nature for Milwaukee’s pen this season.

Evidently the first man with the given name Corbin in Major League history, Burnes was drafted by the Brewers in the fourth round of the 2016 Draft. He has since rocketed through the system in a flash, with ridiculous production (2.77 ERA, 262 SO in 260 IP, 9.1 SO/9, 0.4 HR/9).

The Brewers thought so much of his amazing run, they named him 2017 Minor League Pitcher of the Year and called Burnes up to the big league club by July 10. In his first appearance, he logged a save against the Marlins and has been a Brewer ever since.

Burnes has tossed two shutout innings in the postseason thus far, effectively bridging the gap after Brandon Woodruff started Game 1 against Colorado. Burnes has been money: A studious, efficient and versatile arm with a lot of different looks for hitters.

The Brewers have repeatedly said he will be a starter in 2019, and it’s easy to see why they reportedly refused to include Burnes in any trade scenarios over the summer. He’s a joy to watch, and the prospect of a rotation of Chacin/Anderson/Nelson/Burnes/Peralta or some such in 2019 is exciting.

Indeed, Burnes seems to have a really good idea of what he’s doing with his attack plan, and doesn’t mess around throwing a lot of extra pitches trying to bait swinging strikes. Refreshingly, he comes right after hitters and keeps his teammates active in the field.

It’s anyone’s guess as to how well Burnes will back up this year’s performance if he does indeed find himself back in a familiar starting role in 2019. But all signs so far point toward enormous potential for this homegrown pitcher who may represent a significant rotation piece for the Brewers for many years.

Outside of Brewer Nation, Corbin Burnes is not well known now. This year, he’s Milwaukee’s secret weapon out of the bullpen. But this time next year, he could be on the verge of becoming a household name.

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