Early on this season, Nick Burdi looked ready to burst onto the scene for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Through his first 10 games of the season Burdi owned a 4.32 ERA and a -0.17 FIP in 8 1/3 innings pitched. He had faced 34 batters and struck out 17 of them.
The 2019 season was to be Burdi’s first shot at an opportunity at the MLB level. A one time top pitching prospect in the Minnesota Twins farm system, Burdi had been riddled by injuries, including Tommy John Surgery, before being selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the Rule 5 Draft at the 2017 MLB Winter Meetings.
After the Phillies selected Burdi, he was traded to the Pirates. Burdi spent most of 2018 rehabbing from Tommy John Surgery before pitching in two games in September. Fully recovered from the surgery, Burdi entered Spring Training in 2019 ready to seize a spot in the Pirate bullpen.
Burdi’s season was off to a great start. Then on April 22nd, things came crashing down for the rookie. Pitching against the Arizona Diamondbacks he threw a pitch and immediately fell to the ground screaming in agony. Burdi exited the game and was placed on the injured list the following day. He has not pitched since then.
On Tuesday evening, the Pirates announced that Burdi underwent surgery.
In that final outing against the Diamondbacks Burdi allowed 5 runs on four hits, including a home run, and a walk. However, all of this should be viewed with an asterisk as he was pitching injured.
Burdi will finish his 2019 season with a 9.35 ERA and a 1.80 FIP in 8 2/3 innings pitched. He allowed one home run, walked 7.5% of batters faced, and struck out 42.5%.
Hopefully, Burdi is back and healthy for Spring Training 2020. Not only can he help the Pirate bullpen next season, but, more importantly, he is a great young man that has already been through injury hell in his career.
Here’s to wishing Nick a speedy and successful recovery!