Chase Burns of the Tennessee Volunteers throws a pitch against the Texas A&M Aggies in the first inning at Lindsey Nelson Stadium on March 25, 2023 in Knoxville, Tennessee. (Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images)
By Julian Guilarte
World Baseball Network
Tennessee right-handed pitcher Chase Burns, 20, announced that he is transferring to Wake Forest via Instagram on July 12. Burns entered the transfer portal on June 27.
Burns is rated the second-ranked prospect for the 2024 MLB Draft by D1Baseball.com.
Born in Italy, Burns moved to Gallatin, Tennessee, at a young age. He was a standout at Beech Senior High School and was selected in the 20th round of the 2021 MLB draft by the San Diego Padres, but didn’t sign with the Padres and went to Tennessee.
As a freshman in 2022, Burns started 14 games and pitched in three more out of the bullpen, throwing 80 innings with 103 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.91.
Tennessee head baseball coach Tony Vitello talked about Burns’ decision to transfer during an interview on 99.1 The Sports Animal on July 12.
“We’ve kind of known that he would be gone for a while. But a good case to be careful about what you read on Twitter, because like I said, that’s been straightforward,” Vitelllo said.
Burns is 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, and had a rocky start this past season with an ERA over 5.26, before being moved to the bullpen on April 21. Burns found his grove in the bullpen lowering his ERA to 4.25 on the season. His threw 72 innings, recorded 114 strikeouts, and two saves this season, and his 14.3 strikeouts per nine innings was third in the Nation.
“You know this season went in a lot of different ways. And as coaches, we’ve got to do what we think is best for the whole group and find a way to try and win games,” Vitello said.
Burns’ best effort for Tennessee in the 2023 season came against Stanford, when he pitched six scoreless innings with nine strikeouts out of the bullpen in an elimination game at the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska on June 19.
“I don’t know if they have a pitcher in their conference that’s kind of like me. They were putting good swings on my fastball and slider, too. So, I used all my pitches today to get ahead in the count and did the job,” Burns told Grant Ramsey of Volquest after the game.
Burns’ fastball has topped out at 99 mph and his slider tops out at 89 mph, but more typically sits in the 84-87 range. Tennessee’s season ended on June 20 when they lost to eventual College World Series champion Louisiana State University.
Burns will be a huge addition to the Wake Forest team that made the semifinals of the College World Series before falling to LSU 2-0 in the third game of their series.