Friday, March 19, 2010
Prospect #16 Alex Burnett
Drafted 12 round in 2005, Huntington, California
Levels Played in 2009: A+ Fort Myers and AA New Britain
Opening Day Age: 22
Alex Burnett was originally drafted by the Twins as a starter. He made his major league debut at age 17 and held his own in rookie ball for 2 years. 2007 and 2008, Burett demonstrated he was a bulldog pitcher, throwing a combined 299 innings in Beloit and Fort Myers. Alex Burnett was a solid starter pitcher, generally working with a fastball 91 MPH and a couple good secondary pitches.
2009 the Twins decided to make a move transitioning Burnett from a number 4 or 5 type starter to a power reliever. And it worked great. Burnett arguably had the best year of any Twins releiver at any level other then Joe Nathan in 2009. In two levels 78 innings, he gave up 50 hits, and ERA of 1.85 and 78 strikeouts. When Anthony Slama was promoted to Rochester, Burnett took over as the full time closer in New Britain. Burnett's success at the age of 21 earned him a invitation to the Arizona Fall League where he did not disappoint. He pitched 10 innings with a 3.38 ERA and struck out 11. He did struggle a bit with command with 10 walks but made up for it for how he handled left handers. Who went 1 for 18 against him.
Burnett worked with a low 90's fastball as a starter. As a reliever he hits 94-95 MPH consistently on the gun. He throws that with a straight change up, sluvry breaking ball and a big curve. The last 3 pitchers are said to need a little bit improvement but they do not need much fine tuning. Alex Burnett was rewarded for his work in 2009 by being put on the 40 man roster. MILB.com labels Burnett being on AAA Rochester Red Wings for this season. If this is the case he will defintiely be a September call up this year. And if their are struggles with anyone in the pen, expect him to be one of the first ones called up with Anthony Slama and Rob Delany.
ETA: Mid to late 2010
Projection: Big league reliever with 3 above average to plus pitches. Only 22 now, will definitely get an opportunity to be closer in his career.
Major League Comparison: Their are a ton of guys to compare Burnett to. You could say Heath Bell all the way to Tom "Flash" Gordon.