Mike Burrows has become one of the Pittsburgh Pirates better pitching prospects. Since selecting him in the 11th round of the 2018 draft, the high-spin right-hander has developed into a fine pitching prospect and a potential major-league arm. Last year, Burrows posted solid results and looks to make an impact on the major league team in 2023.
Burrows started the year off with Altoona, where he owned a 2.94 ERA, 2.72 FIP, and 1.10 WHIP in 52 innings of work. Burrows struck out well over 30% of the batters he faced with a 32.4% K%, and while his 8.9% walk rate may not have been among the best, it was still solid. He paired that with a strong 0.52 HR/9.
Burrows’ numbers at Indy were not as pretty, as he had a 5.31 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. Some bad luck was a factor in Burrows’ struggles. Opponents had a .333 batting average on balls in play vs. the right-hander compared to a much more reasonable .292 with Altoona, and he only walked 6.7% of the batters he squared off against. His K% may have fallen to 23.3%, his HR/9 rose to 1.06, and he tanked in his last start. He had a much prettier 4.10 ERA, 3.60 FIP, and 1.22 WHIP before surrendering six earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning on September 28th. Overall, there were plenty of signs that Burrows pitched better than his final line says.
Burrows throws in the mid-90s and with a ton of spin, averaging out with about 2500 RPM and in the 93-96 MPH range. His curveball is also a very high-spin offering with 3000 RPM. His change-up has always been questionable, but over the past two seasons, it’s looked like a pitch he can rely on semi-regularly, giving him two plus-plus offerings and a third average pitch.
Burrows showed he is ready for a major league debut next season. While his bottom line numbers may not have been the best, there’s more than enough evidence to show that one start and some lousy luck inflated what was overall a decent season on the mound.