Among the pitchers drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays between the third and fifth rounds are Alex Cobb, Jeremy Hellickson, Wade Davis, and Jake McGee. Brock Burke, a left-hander out of Evergreen High School in Colorado, is the latest high-upside pitcher with the potential to be an impact starting pitcher in the major leagues.
Reports on Burke’s height differ–MLB.com has him at 6’2″, 170 while Perfect Game says he’s 6’4″, 180. The Rays would clearly prefer the latter, but either way he is a projectable pitcher. The reason he slipped this far in the draft is that his fastball has not been clocked too high thus far–he has mostly been 88-90 MPH, touching 92. But what you like about pitchers who don’t throw particularly hard in high school is the way it forces them to develop the offerings they do have. Burke gets good run on his fastball towards right-handed batters and does a good job throwing the offering for strikes as a high school pitcher. His slider, though, may be his best offering at this time, flashing sharp late break. The Rays do often switch out sliders for curveballs, but Burke’s may be promising enough for them to keep. He has also thrown a changeup sparingly, and you know the Rays will have him throw the pitch a whole lot more. With Brock Burke, the Rays are getting a projectable pitcher with good stuff now, who will only improve moving forward. He is exactly the type of pitcher the Rays to develop, and we will have to check back in a few years to see if he is their latest development success story.