2020 Pirate Rookie of the Year – Nick Burdi
For a second consecutive season I am going with reliever Nick Burdi as my pick for rookie of the year. Had he not contracted the coronaviurs causing him to miss the start of the season, my pick would likely be Ke’Bryan Hayes. But with Hayes set to miss the start of the season, Burdi gets the nod for a second consecutive season.
Last season, Burdi only logged 8.2 innings before a nerve issue abruptly ended his season. In these 8.2 innings of work, he struck out 17 batters while flashing a power fastball and a wipe out slider.
Still possessing rookie status due to time missed, as well as Rule 5 status, this will be Burdi’s year. His fastball averaged 96.9 MPH last season, and routinely touches 100 MPH. His slider, which averaged 87.8 MPH, generated swings-and-misses at a strong 49% rate.
With the fate of Keone Kela to start the season up in the air, the Pittsburgh Pirates find themselves in need of a closer. While closer should never be considered a position, if the Pirates are going to use one it should be Burdi.
The Pirate bullpen could be a real adventure in 2020. But the one pitcher that appears capable of being a reliable reliever throughout the season for the Bucs is Burdi.