Pittsburgh Pirates pitching prospect Mike Burrows is off to a dominant start thus far at Double-A Altoona and he is showing no signs of slowing down
When people think of the pitching prospects the Pittsburgh Pirates have in their farm system they often times think of pitchers such as Quinn Priester and Roansy Contreras. One pitcher that does not always come to mind right away is righty Mike Burrows.
Burrows had a strong season for High-A Greensboro in 2021. While Burrows made just 13 starts in 2021, he pitched to the tune of a 2.20 ERA, 3.28 FIP, and a 34.2% strikeout rate in 49.0 innings pitched.
The success of 2021 led to Burrows starting the 2022 season with Double-A Altoona. Thus far Burrows has been dominant as a member of the Curve as he continues to grow as one of the organization’s best pitching prospects.
So far this season Burrows has pitched 18.0 innings in 4 starts. Burrows has posted a 1.00 ERA, 2.59 FIP, 6.0% walk rate, and a 34.3% strikeout rate. Additionally, Burrows has allowed just 1 home run thus far.
Both his 6.0% walk rate and 34.3% strikeout rate are new career bests for Burrows. While he has always generated plenty of strikeouts, command has been an issue in the past. In both 2021 and 2019 Burrows posted a walk rate over 10%. With him taking a step froward with his control it just makes Burrows an even better, more intriguing prospect to follow in the Pirate farm system.
What has Burrows been working on this season? “Been working on attacking hitters and getting ahead in counts,” Burrows told Rum Bunter. Being aggressive on the mound and attacking hitters can certainly help a pitcher get ahead in the count. Getting ahead in the count will cut down on walks while increasing strikeouts, both of which Burrows has done this season.
As for what Burrows believes has led to his early season success, “I’d say the trust in my work each week and bringing purpose to everything I do.” Burrows has plus stuff. His spin rates are some of the best in the entire Pirate farm system. With stuff that good it’s easy to see why Burrows is going out there and simply trusting his stuff.
The 22-year-old Burrows throws a fastball with a lot of run on it making it difficult for opposing batters to square the pitch up. His curveball has the potential to be an elite pitch which has led to the pitch being rated a 70-grade pitch by FanGraphs. His curveball plays off the fastball well, and, like his fastball, is rarely squared up by opposing batters. Burrows also throws a changeup that is continuing to evolve on its way to becoming a quality pitch.
If Burrows continues to do what he has done then he could reach the Triple-A level this season. Honestly, if Burrows continues to dominate at Double-A then the Pittsburgh Pirates may chose to make this move before the end of the summer months. Regardless, Burrows is a prospect that fans of the Pirates need to be keeping tabs on.