Dynasty Baseball

2021 Dynasty Baseball Player of the Week: Corbin Burnes

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Welcome back to our 2021 Dynasty Baseball Player of the Week, where this week we’ll be taking a look at Brewers pitcher Corbin Burnes.

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This week we will be diving into a player that is skyrocketing in dynasty leagues everywhere. His name is Corbin Burnes. He is currently ranked 60th overall, and the 16th-ranked starting pitcher.

In general, we need to start talking about the starting staff the Brewers have put together. With Woodruff, then Burnes, and finally Freddy Peralta, the Brews have three guys either entering or are in their current prime. The NL central better watch out for the brew crew!

2021 Dynasty Baseball Player of the Week: Corbin Burnes

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Pitch(er) Perfect Path

In a perfect scenario, an MLB player is drafted, then rises through the system over 2-3 years. However, as we know, this is hardly ever the case when factoring in injuries and other unexpected snags. The story of Corbin Burnes is almost that type of picture-perfect scenario. Corbin Burnes was drafted in 2016 in the 4th round, pick 111 overall. He was drafted out of St. Mary’s College in California.

After being drafted, Burnes was relegated to rookie ball for the remainder of the 2016 season. In 35 innings, he had a low ERA of 2.02 while striking out 41 batters. This showing began the ascension of Burnes through the Brewers system. Burnes started to next season in high A and finished the year in AA, showing his stuff with a combined sub 2.00 ERA.

The jump in the 2018 season in AAA was not as kind to our guy Corbin. He accrued an ERA over 5.00 in 19 games. After a season like that, you’re now thinking, “Well, he must have gotten hurt if he only pitched in 19 games.” Actually, quite the contrary: he got his first taste of the big leagues. I guess Burnes simply did not care for AAA, because he bounced back and quickly started dealing as a member of the Brew Crew. Burnes pitched in 38 innings coming out of the bullpen, earning a 2.61 ERA with a WHIP of 1.00. The excellent debut for the rookie left the Brewers excited for things to come, envisioning Burnes as a potential starter.

Sophomore Slump

Fantasy owners, fans, and the Brewers all had high expectations for Burnes going into the 2019 season. Early on, Burnes had trouble keeping the ball in the yard. This is a challenging problem to have, especially if you are a member of the rotation. As a team that had no time to waste, Burnes was moved into the bullpen.

However, diving into the advanced numbers, Burnes may have been more lousy luck pitchers than a bad pitcher. He had an ERA of 8.82. Burnes had an xFIP of 3.38. For those like me and have no clue what the hell xFIP is, these numbers are good. Here is the MLB definition of xFIP.

xFIP finds a pitcher’s FIP, but it uses projected home-run rate instead of actual home runs allowed. The home run rate is determined by that season’s league average HR/FB rate.

When it comes down to it, Burnes just needed to keep the ball in the yard. 30.8% of the balls batted against Burnes were in the air. 9% of the balls batted in the air as a fly ball were going over the fence. Some people might look at the state of the juiced ball in 2019 and think that was a contributor.

So going into 2020, could Burnes regain the trust of the Brewers, and can he keep the ball in the yard.

Mr. Burnes…Excellent

Burnes came into 2020 with a new nasty pitch; that pitch was a cutter. He used it 31.5% of the time while almost altogether ditching his fastball, throwing it only 2.6%. This development would completely change the season and the career for Burnes. As I have gone over before in the shortened 2020 season, if you were good, the numbers count, and if you were not good, the numbers could be thrown out. His final numbers for 2020 were 59.2 IP, 14 ER, 24 walks, 88 strikeouts, 1.02 WHIP, 13.3 K/9. These numbers were indeed excellent (Mr.Burns from the Simpsons voice).

2021 Dynasty Impact

Burnes is already on a historic pace this season. With each start, he gets better and better. Burnes has an ERA sub .50; you read that correctly; his ERA is currently .32. He is putting up absolutely video game type numbers; just check out his placement within the baseball percentile ranks courtesy of baseball savant. Lots of red there, and boy is it a beautiful sight.

As of now, Burnes is easily in the Cy Young conversation, he is quite possibly the favorite behind the GOAT Jacob DeGrom. He is trailing Degrom and Degrom only in Whiff%.



I’m going to plant my flag in Planet Burnes. By season’s end–possibly by week’s end–Corbin Burnes will be a top 5 dynasty pitcher in all leagues. This is not the hottest take, but it is a take I am comfortable with stating. If you are in a position to win this season or next, go get this man. Give up any prospects not named Wander, Kelenic, Took, Witt, Julio. This is the only time he might even be available!


Check out the rest of our 2021 Fantasy Baseball content from our fantastic team of writers.

About Nick Zaniboni

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