The Cleveland Indians selected Auburn’s Tanner Burns with the 36th pick in the MLB Draft on Wednesday. Some projected Burns as a late first-round pick, but he instead just fell outside of it and was drafted in competitive balance round A.
He may not have been taken in the first round but Burns was still taken on the first day. While getting drafted is a dream come true for Burns, he knows that this is just the first step in a long process.
“Hearing my name called in the first round is a dream come true, but I want to be a big leaguer, not just a professional baseball player, so there’s still work to do,” Burns said. “I can’t thank my family enough for their unwavering support. They’ve been with me every step of the way."
Burns thanked Auburn for its support and investment in him as both a player and person over the past three seasons.
"I also want to thank Coach Thompson and the Auburn baseball program for investing in me not only as a baseball player, but also as a person," Burns said. "Lastly, I want to thank the Cleveland Indians organization for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to take that next step toward achieving my dream. I can’t wait to get to work.”
In his freshman year, he amassed a 3.01 ERA, which put him 12th nationally among all freshman, and he was voted a Freshman All-American by several outlets.
Since then, he has slowly worked on his craft to become one of the most skilled and polished arms in the SEC. He finished with a career 2.86 ERA and was placed on the watch list for the Golden Spikes Award in both his sophomore and junior campaigns.
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Burns joined Casey Mize as the only Auburn pitchers since 2000 to garner 100 strikeouts in a season, fanning 101 batters in 2019.
On Monday, Thompson expressed his respect for Burns’ skill and work ethic.
“[Burns] is a proven guy that’s been good for a long, long, long time,” Thompson said. “He’s always been good. He’s a guy that’s the best player in the state coming through high school. He’s the guy that’s come to us and became a freshman All-American. He’s a guy that’s not done yet. He’s a developing pitcher.”
The selection of Burns gives Auburn its 46th consecutive season with at least one MLB draftee. This record dates back to the 1975 season and is tied for the longest streak in the SEC.
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