Three Breakout Candidates For The Pittsburgh Pirates In 2019

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Pittsburgh Pirates
ST. LOUIS, MO – SEPTEMBER 11: Nick Burdi #57 of the Pittsburgh Pirates makes his MLB debut pitching against the St. Louis Cardinals in the eighth inning at Busch Stadium on September 11, 2018 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Reliever Nick Burdi

In the minor league portion of the 2017 Rule 5 Draft the Pittsburgh Pirates selected right-handed relief pitcher Nick Burdi from the Minnesota Twins. At the time, Burdi was recovering from Tommy John Surgery. This recovery would cost him most of his 2018 season.

In September, Burdi earned his first ever promotion to the Major League level. In 1 1/3 innings pitched Burdi allowed a home run, he walked two batters, and he struck out a pair. However, what was most important for Burdi was getting to toe the rubber at the MLB level for the first time in his life.

Burdi is a name that may not be well known among Pirate fans, especially not as well known as Keller or even Brubaker. However, as we covered on the site earlier this offseason, he has the potential to be a factor in the team’s bullpen this season.

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Burdi will likely be a member of the Pirate bullpen when the team heads to Cincinnati on March 28th. He has the makeup and tools needed to be an effective reliever at the MLB level. Now, it will be up to Burdi to put it all together and help the Pirates in 2019.