This is one in a series of stories looking at the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 40-man roster members.
Back in 2018, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected right-handed pitcher Mike Burrows in the 11th round of the MLB Draft.
It took a hefty $500K signing bonus to convince the prep arm from Connecticut to forgo a college career at UConn to join Pittsburgh’s organization.
Four years after he was drafted, the Pirates added Burrows to their 40-man roster earlier this offseason to protect him from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft.
Now, the 23-year-old looks to be on track to make his major league debut at some point in 2023.
Burrows spent his entire 2021 season with High-A Greensboro, where he went 2-2 with a 2.20 ERA in 13 starts for the Grasshoppers. He recorded 66 strikeouts in just 49 innings.
The strong showing led Burrows to beginning last season with Double-A Altoona, where he shined.
In a dozen starts with the Curve, Burrows posted a 2.94 ERA, a 1.096 WHIP and nearly 12 strikeouts per nine innings (69 strikeouts in 52 innings pitched).
The success with Altoona led to a midseason promotion to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Things with Indianapolis did not go as smoothly for the right-hander. Burrows appeared in 12 games (10 starts) at Triple-A and posted a 5.31 ERA across 42.1 innings. The good news for Burrows is that his 3.98 FIP indicates he probably pitched better than the surface numbers indicate.
Burrows has received national attention and represented the Pirates in the 2022 Futures Game during All-Star weekend.
According to MLB Pipeline, Burrows is regarded as one of the best arms in the Pirates’ minor league system and ranks as their eighth-best prospect overall.
Burrows’ curveball is considered to be his best pitch and he also has an impressive mid-90s fastball that is considered to be a plus offering.
While those two pitches are Burrows’ strongest, he also features a changeup and has good command of the baseball overall.
Burrows, in all likelihood, will begin the year back in Triple-A Indianapolis, but it may not be for all that long.
Look to see Burrows on the mound at PNC Park at some point during the 2023 season.