Rum Bunter’s 2019 Pittsburgh Pirates Staff Preview: Nitti

Michael Nitti
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 03: Adam Frazier #26 of the Pittsburgh Pirates rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on September 3, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 03: Adam Frazier #26 of the Pittsburgh Pirates rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on September 3, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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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)
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) /

Team Rookie of the Year – Nick Burdi

The Pirates informed a few players that they made the roster on Tuesday, one of which being RHP Nick Burdi. Once a top prospect in the Minnesota Twins system, Burdi has had an up-and-down career to this point, in large part due to injuries.

Prior to being selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the Rule 5 Draft, and subsequently traded to the Buccos for $500,000 of international signing bonus money, the 26-year old Illinois native underwent Tommy John surgery in May of 2017.

After spending much of the 2018 season recovering from the surgery, Burdi struggled in 10 appearances sprinkled across three levels in the minors, recording a 5.73 ERA in 11 IP. Despite that, he got a taste of the big leagues in September, logging 1.1 IP from his two games out of the bullpen.

This spring, Burdi looked like a new pitcher. In nine games, the former second round pick struck out an impressive 13 batters in 10 IP, allowing just two runs and an opponent batting average of .147. Although he may never become what he once was touted as when he was a prospect, Burdi can earn a larger role in a bullpen that still has a few question marks.

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