Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect 2022 Outlook: Pitcher Michael Burrows
Right-handed pitching prospect Michael Burrows continues to fly under the radar for the Pittsburgh Pirates. What could 2022 hold for him?
Right-handed pitching prospect Michael Burrows continues to be an underrated arm in the Pittsburgh Pirates farm system. Even though injuries limited him to just 13 starts, Burrows turned in a strong season with High-A Greensboro in 2021.
Burrows pitched 49 innings in his 13 starts with the Grasshoppers. The 22-year-old righty posted a 2.20 ERA, 3.28 FIP, 10.4% walk rate and a 34.2% strikeout rate in his 13 starts. He also allowed just 3 home runs, coming out to a 0.55 HR/9.
Burrows is a pitcher who deserves more credit and spotlight than he gets. FanGraphs gives his fastball a FV grade of 50 and curveball a grade of 55. What Burrows needs most, however, is for a third pitch to emerge.
If a third pitch does not emerge for Burrows then his long-term future is in the bullpen. That said, it could be as a dominant reliever. However, if a third pitch develops for Burrows then he could be a very good middle of the rotation arm in the Majors.
After the minor league season ended Burrows pitched in the Arizona Fall League for the Peoria Javelinas. In the AFL, Burrows pitched 15.1 innings in 5 outings. Burrows posted a 3.52 ERA in his 15.1 innings of work. He walked 5 batters, allowed 2 home runs and struck out 16 in his AFL work.
When the 2022 minor league season begins Burrows will likely find himself pitching for the Double-A Altoona Curve. This will give Burrows an opportunity to take another step forward by pitching in the Double-A level at just the age of 22.
The Pirates would likely look to have Burrows spend the majority of the season at Altoona. Especially with it being important right now for Burrows to just stay healthy and log a bulk of starts/innings. That said, if he pitches well for the Curve he could find himself at the Triple-A level before the end of the season.
Where the long-term future of Burrows will be remains to be seen. If he can develop a viable third pitch he could be a very, very good starting pitcher for the Pirates. Even if this does not happen he still has the tools needed to be a dominant reliever.
The 2022 season will likely be a big one for Burrows in determining where is long-term home is. If he still has not developed his changeup enough by the end of 2022 the bullpen may indeed prove to be his long-term home. If he does, however, then Burrows could begin to shoot up prospect boards and quickly become one of the best starting pitching prospects in the Pirate system. Regardless, Burrows should have a bright, successful future with the Pittsburgh Pirates.