3. Reds should select Guardians RHP Tanner Burns in the Rule 5 Draft
Tanner Burns received a lot of accolades coming out of college back in 2020. The University of Auburn alum used to throw gas, but according to MLB Pipeline, that velocity was down dramatically in 2023. Burns heater was sitting in the low-90s.
That could be concerning, but the Rule 5 Draft is all about taking a chance on the possibiilty that you may actually stumble into something terrific. Burns represents that type of possibility and has the talent to operate out of the Reds bullpen.
While Burns has been considered a starter throughout his entire minor league career, if Cincinnati were to select the right-hander in the Rule 5 Draft, he'd inevtiably be brought along as a reliever.
The Rule 5 Draft has very specific guidelines attached to it, and any player selected must remain on the team's active roster. With a fierce competition already shaping up for the starting rotation once spring training begins, Burns' best chance to remain with the Reds would be in the bullpen.
In 14 starts last season, Burns posted a 3.01 ERA and a 23.9-percent strikeout-rate according to FanGraphs. Rather than concentrate on that elusive three-to-four-pitch mix, moving into a relief role would allow Tanner Burns to utilize his plus-slider and pair it with his fastball.
The Cincinnati Reds bullpen was overworked in 2023, and the front office will likely be turning over as many rocks as possible this offseason in order to give the relief corps a boost.