Pittsburgh Pirates: Rum Bunter's Top 10 Prospects

A Look at our top ten Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects
Jul 18, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes (left) is
Jul 18, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Paul Skenes (left) is / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
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Number Five - Starting Pitcher Mike Burrows

Mike Burrows may have already made his big league debut and would be part of the Pirate Major League rotation already. But a Tommy John surgery in mid-April cut his chances of that happening. Still, Burrows was on the up and up going into this year and was looking like one of the Pirates’ most promising prospects.

Burrows ended the 2022 campaign with a 4.01 ERA, 3.29 FIP, and 1.21 WHIP. He struck out 28.2% of opponents, held them to a 7.9% walk rate, and only allowed 0.76 home runs per nine innings on average. Though Burrows’ numbers are a little deceiving. Going into the last game of the year, his ERA was below 3.50 at 3.46, and a FIP of 3.11. He allowed six earned runs on a home run, walk, and no strikeouts while recording two outs. 

That final start may have inflated his numbers, but didn’t change how good he looked throughout the year. Burrows has a nasty fastball and curveball. His four-seamer sits 94-96 MPH, but with plus-plus spin. His curveball has elite-level spin as he can hit 3000 RPM. While his fastball and curveball have always looked good, the development of his change-up would be a major part of his development. At one point, it was a barely used, get-me-over type offering. Now, it might just be his best offering.

Burrows’ return in 2024 will be big for the Pirates. He’ll likely come back sometime around the midpoint of the season. He could (and should) give them another major rotation reinforcement behind many of the other prospects and young pitchers who are coming up.