Nick Burdi Has Seized Opportunity This Spring With The Pittsburgh Pirates


Young reliever Nick Burdi has seized the opportunity the Pittsburgh Pirates have given him this spring and he is running with it

Earlier this week, I covered how no one is seizing the opportunity being presented at shortstop or as the Pittsburgh Pirates fifth starting pitcher. This is not true for right-handed relief pitcher Nick Burdi, though. So far this spring, Burdi has seized the opportunity he’s been given and run with it.

At last year’s Winter Meetings the Pirates drafted Burdi in the minor league edition of the rule 5 Draft. At the time Burdi was recovering from Tommy John Surgery. Due to this, he spent most of the 2018 season rehabbing in the minor leagues.

Burdi did earn a September call up with the Bucs. However, he pitched just 1 2/3 innings for the team. The main reason Burdi was promoted in September was to begin to accumulate the service time he needs in order for the Bucs to keep him.

Due to his Rule 5 Draft status, Burdi can not be sent to the minor leagues without spending 90 days on the team’s active

25-man roster. If they wanted to send him to the minors before he did so, they would first have to offer him back to the Minnesota Twins.

After spending the month of September on the active roster, Burdi now needs to spend just 60 days at the MLB level before he can be sent to the minors. Due to this, Burdi was going to be given every opportunity in the world to earn a spot in the Opening Day bullpen. So far, Burdi has seized this opportunity.

Burdi is a former top prospect of the Twins. This is due to his power fastball and wicked slider, both of which have been on display this spring. It is due to these two pitches that he has the tools needed to be a lights out relief pitcher at the MLB level.

In six games this spring Burdi has pitched 6 1/3 innings. He has allowed two runs on four hits, a home run, and three walks. While you would like to see his issue a few less walks, his 11 strikeouts more than makes up for the walk issues.

Hitters have struggled to keep up with Burdi’s fastball this spring. It has hit as high as 99 miles per hour on the radar gun. He has also flashed a wipe out slider that can be a deadly put away pitch.

What Defines A Successful 2019 For The Pirates?. dark. Next

Prior to the start of Spring Training, Burdi figured to have an inside track to earning a middle relief spot in the Pirate bullpen. His performance this spring has only solidified this. If his performance this spring is any sign of things to come, then he could find himself as one of Clint Hurdle‘s high leverage relievers before the end of the season.