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Pirates All 40: What Kind of Bounce Back Can We Expect From Burrows?

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Mike Burrows, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pirates prospects

This is one in a series of stories breaking down members of the Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster.

In round 11 of the 2018 MLB Draft, the Pittsburgh Pirates selected right-hander Mike Burrows from Waterford High School in Connecticut.  A $500,000 signing bonus is a lot to an 11th rounder, but it makes sense considering Burrows situation.

According to scouts, Burrows, heading into the draft, had extremely high spin rates and could touch 92-93 mph but would sit in the high 80s. 

In addition, Burrows offered a slider, curve, and a changeup. Burrows’ slider was his best-rated pitch going into the draft. 

Heading into his first professional season, Burrows pitched in just four games after signing and only gave up one unearned run in 14 innings pitched. 

2019 was an odd year for Burrows. He skipped rookie ball and went straight to West Virginia to play with the Black Bears in Low-A. In 43.2 innings pitched, Burrows posted a 2-3 record with an ERA of 4.33. 

In addition, he had an odd reverse platoon split with righties slashing .292/.382/.425 with an OPS of .807. Lefties slashed .200/.258/.291 with an OPS of .549. 

Out of the 11 games Burrows he pitched, he only went past four innings four times and went a full five innings two times. 

2021 was a mix-bag of a year for Burrows. On the one hand, he dominated in Greensboro, but on the other, his injury bug made its first big appearance.  In the middle of July, Burrows missed practically two months with an oblique injury. 

When he was healthy, Burrows posted an ERA of 2.20 and a 0.90 WHIP, walked 20, and struck out 66 in 49 innings pitched. In addition, Burrows participated in the Arizona Fall League and posted an ERA of 3.52 in 15.1 innings pitched.

2022 didn’t hold any big-time injuries for Burrows, but he dealt with some nagging issues as the season went on. In Double-A, Burrows showcased his talent. 

In 52 innings pitched, Burrows posted an ERA of 2.94, a WHIP of 1.096, walked 19, and struck out 69. After 12 starts in Double-A, Burrows was called up to Triple-A and made his first appearance on June 19. 

In 42.1 innings pitched, Burrows posted an ERA of 5.31 in Triple-A and looked a little lost up there. In addition, Burrows was selected for the 2022 Futures Game. 

2023 was going to be a big test year for Burrows in Triple-A. 

Unfortunately for the Connecticut native, he suffered a UCL injury in his right elbow and was forced to have season-ending Tommy John surgery in April. The procedure is expected to keep him out of action until the middle of summer. 

In many cases, we see pitchers come back stronger than ever after Tommy John, and some throw even harder than before. Before his surgery, Burrows was throwing in the mid-90s and had flashes of high 90s with good sink. 

Now we have to wait and see how Burrows can bounce back and get back on the right track.

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