The Pittsburgh Pirates gave a reliever his major league début last night against the St. Louis Cardinals. It was not a very impressive one.
Back in December of 2017, the Pittsburgh Pirates made a minor trade with the Philadelphia Phillies to acquire Nick Burdi, who was acquired by the Phillies that same morning in the annual Rule Five Draft. However, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies must have had a deal worked out beforehand as the trade happened just hours after.
The Pittsburgh Pirates did not give much up for the power arm reliever. In exchange for him, the Pittsburgh Pirates sent $500,000 in International Bonus money. While the team did not give up any players for the reliever, they were taking a risk by acquiring him. Burdi missed all of the 2017 season as he underwent Tommy-John Surgery for his torn UCL.
With that being said, with Burdi being a Rule Five draft selection, the Pittsburgh Pirates had to keep Burdi on their roster for the entire 2018 season. In a way, it worked out for the Pittsburgh Pirates as they were able to place him on the 60-day disabled list. This kept Burdi out until mid-July. Being he was on the disabled list, the Bucs were able to extend his time off the roster by placing him on a long minor league rehab assignment.
Burdi slowly worked his way up the minor league levels. He started in Bradenton where he pitched in two games over four days. Then, he was bumped to Altoona, in which he spent 10 days and appeared in three games over those days. Lastly, Burdi moved up to Triple-A Indianapolis at the beginning of August, but he did not pitch for the Indians until August 15th. He finished there until rosters expanded at the beginning of September.
Well, last night he finally got to make his major league début and it did not go very well. Burdi came in to start the eighth inning in a game led by the St. Louis Cardinals by a score of 5-1. He quickly recorded the first out in the inning by inducing a fly ball to center field. However, he did not record another out after the first batter. He promptly gave up a single and a walk. Then a fielding error by Colin Moran allowed the leadoff single to score. Then the next batter was Tyler O’Neil, who crushed a three-run homer to end Burdi’s night.
So Burdi’s stat line finished as a third of an inning with four runs given up, three being earned. However, if there was a positive he showed decent stuff. His fastball ranged from 95-98 and his slider looked like it had good bite to it. Burdi was a second round pick and has been a top prospect since being drafted. Chances are coming off Tommy-John he is still establishing a lot of things in terms of his mechanics and overall pitch quality. He should continue to pitch this September and continue to work those things out to see if he can be a piece in the Bucs bullpen in 2019.