Less than one week after the 2014 draft, the talent excavation process began for the 2015 class with the start of Perfect Game National on Thursday.
PG National showcases the top high school talent in the country; last year all 16 high school players that went in the first round attended the event.
While last year’s event started off with a bang on the mound, featuring four arms who ran their fastballs into the low- or mid-90s (No. 12 overall pick Kodi Medeiros, first-rounder Luis Ortiz, fourth-rounder Carson Sands and Brandon Murray), this year’s class has yet to display a similar depth of power arms. But one of the top arms from the first two days of the event is from the state known for its power arms: Texas.
Righthander Beau Burrows has shown the most velocity of any pitcher in the first two days of the event. His first pitch in game action was 95 and his last pitch in his two-inning stint was 96, which tied for his top mark on the day.
Burrows has a quick arm and the ball jumps out of his hand, largely sitting 93-95 on the day while striking out three against one walk. His delivery has changed since last summer.
The loose, flexible Burrows throws from a high three-quarters arm slot that was nearly over the top last summer, now offering less postural tilt and head movement at release. Burrows has significant tilt in his delivery with a high glove extension and is able to leverage the ball downhill when on top. Although his arm slot limits his fastball life to occasional arm-side run, Burrows’ fastball has late giddyup and riding life through the zone.
“We work on my glove side and getting out front out from my front foot and staying back as long as I can,” Burrows said. “And getting out front, finishing and pronating a lot.”
Burrows is a student of pitching coach Flint Wallace, the Weatherford (Texas) College assistant coach and instructor at Ron Wolforth’s Texas Baseball Ranch.
“I have always thrown from the same arm slot since I was 9 years old and I have had the same pitching coach, Flint Wallace,” Burrows said. “I have been with him ever since I was 9 years old. He has done me well. Coach Wallace is the reason that I am the pitcher I am today.”
Burrows has shown elite arm strength throughout his high school career, touching 95 at the Area Code Games last year, but has shown an improved ability to sustain his velocity.
“I have been lifting and doing a lot of arm care over the last year with a lot of weighted ball work and it has helped my arm strength,” Burrows said. “I have been working hard for that and I like the results.”
Burrows tended to miss up with his fastball he showed improved strike-throwing ability. Last summer, Burrows’ struggled to get his fastball down in the zone out of the stretch and lost velocity from that position because he wasn’t able create the same leverage. But his velocity largely sat 92-94 from the stretch while throwing strikes.
“I have worked on not tilting as much and using my hips and my legs more,” Burrows said. “I have worked on that quite a bit and it has helped me from to stretch to be able to get the ball down more than I used to.”
Burrows uses a slider and curveball and his low-80s curveball showed at least average potential, flashing significantly better with downer action at its best, although it didn’t always play at that level.
“When I get my release point down it is a great pitch but when I leave it up in the zone I know that I am not finishing it right and I critique myself on the mound and I try to work down in the zone with it,” Burrows said.
He only threw one changeup in game action at 88 mph from a lowered arm slot.
The Texas A&M commit is a long-toss devotee whose favorite pitcher to watch is Trevor Bauer.
“I try to long toss every day,” Burrows said. “I can’t always make that happen but I try.”
The lean, athletically built Burrows has wiry strength and broad shoulders at 6-foot-2, 195 pounds.
Burrows is scheduled to have a busy summer on the showcase circuit, pitching at the Tournament of Stars next weekend, for the EvoShield Canes and at the Area Code Games.