P2Daily: Mike Burrows Is Showing He Has Little Left To Solve In Altoona

One of the best in season test for a pitcher is how they bounce back after a bad outing. It’s not like being a position player and having an 0-for-4 game and then being able to come back the next day and try to rebound.

Starting pitchers sometimes go up to a week before their next start, giving plenty of opportunities to get in their own head and overanalyze everything that went wrong.

The good ones leave it at the stadium right afterwards, the ones that struggle take it with them.

It has been a dazzling season for Mike Burrows, making the jump from High-A Greensboro to Double-A Altoona this year. In many ways, he has replaced Roansy Contreras from a year ago as far as the hype surrounding the times he takes the mound.

It hasn’t been often that opposing teams have gotten the best of him, but last week against Bowie was one of those instances. He didn’t have his best of outings, only pitching three innings, allowing seven walks, and three runs while walking four.

Burrows quickly threw that start in the trash, and was back to dealing on Wednesday. Pitching against Reading in game one of a double header, Burrows pitched five innings of one-hit, three walk baseball while striking out a season high nine batters.

Entering the season there were a few questions surrounding Burrows as a prospect. At the top of the list was his change-up, which he has not only shown the ability to throw one, but it flashed being at least an above-average pitch at times.

Now showing that he has three pitches in his arsenal, and he can easily bounce back from bad starts, Burrows is slowly showing that he may have answered all the questions that Double-A has presented.

So does that mean it’s time to ship him to Indianapolis?

One thing to watch when it comes to talking about his potential rapid ascension in the system is his innings pitched. For the first time in his minor league career, Burrows has passed the 50 innings pitched mark.

It doesn’t seem likely the Pirates are going to let him completely blow by last year’s totals. They’ll be monitoring him very closely down the stretch. Outside of that, his play has clearly risen to the top among his competition.

With Contreras in the majors, and Quinn Priester still out, Burrows is ‘the guy’ in the minors when it comes to Pirates pitching prospects. He’s shown it time and time again, that whatever puzzle Double-A has dished up, he has the answer for.

Whatever the next challenge is, he may not be able to find it in Altoona anymore.


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He needs to be added to the 40-man after the season anyway, so screw it, let him pitch 15-20 innings out of the bullpen in September if they want to limit his workload a bit. He might hit 100 in the pen.


It figures I made the drive to Altoona on the night he bombed. I don’t know if it had anything to do with it or not, but GMBC was sitting about 7 seats over from me for that start. Hopefully that wasn’t the cause for his blow-up game. That wouldn’t be a good sign.

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It will be interesting to see how they manage his innings. They’re measuring total workload in one way or another (probably multiple ways) and all we get to see are inning and pitch counts from official games. The number of innings they’ll allow him to throw will provide some insight into how many other things they’re factoring in.


Personally i do hope they error on the side of caution, whatever that means to the smart guys pumping out there max inning / pitches / whatever numbers..
Get him a taste, 4-5 short starts, of Indy this year, then see what happens in camp 2023…baby him

Last edited 2 months ago by tedwins

Today highlights a couple things I think are so wrong with this organization, and just baseball in general these days with the handling of these prospects. Burrows pitched 50 innings last year because he was injured, that’s fine, judging by his performance I have to think he is not injured now. That innings total should have no bearing on his innings this year. It’s not like he has had to build up to five innings, it’s that he wasn’t healthy and he is now. Should he throw 100 pitches next start; obviously not. But there’s no reason to put this kid on a tight leash, let him run. It is time to go to AAA and he may be ready for the big leagues by August. It happens. It happens with the really good ones more often.
And regarding Davis getting clogged with another pitch. Why is it set in stone rehab has the start in rookie ball where half the pitchers can’t throw a strike? It’s not like facing semi pro pitchers and defenses is going to make things better for a player. If they’re not healthy enough to play at the level they should be in, they shouldn’t be in live games.

Last edited 2 months ago by Born4rf

How do you know they’re wrong? Fragging arms by jumping them from 50 high school innings to 180 in their first drafted tear happened for decades in baseball. That’s how we got here.


Pitchers who get injured tend to get injured more. The most inning he ever pitched has been 64, and he is now at 50.2. We are about 1/3 into the Minor League season. It is not likely they are going to triple his previous number. At some point they are probably going to either sit him down, or reduce his innings/pitches per start.


That’s true about injuries. But injuries often start from fatigue which happens as a guy passes his innings mark and gets tired over the course of the season.

I’d hope they sit him for some time for a few weeks or so. Limiting innings while staying in the rotation feels a little strange and counterproductive.


It’s true. I have seen no empirical evidence to suggest that limiting innings is effective in staving off injuries. I tend to think that that the lack of innings accumulation hampers both durability and learning to pitch as opposed to throwing hard.


I keep seeing tidbits that Henry Davis back on the IL after getting hit the other night but nothing definitive. Anyone know?


For as many decent position players up and coming, this org is short on stud pitchers. Hopefully he is one of them, but they need a bunch more. At some point, that’s where hte draft focus needs to be. Or trade position guys for pitchers.


If MLB allowed draft pick to be traded, this might be a good year to trade away #4 overall for some upside arms, post-hype pitching prospects in other systems


It’s a good concept and would add a fun element to the draft. Another option would be to trade the fourth pick for, say, SD’s picks at 15 and 39. .

Looking over years of draft data, the chance of a pick at 1-4 being a difference maker is slim…I was actually about to use Gore as an example of the type of player you might go after.

Shame that MLB seems to have no interest in allowing teams to move picks. Though, with Nutting’s unwillingness to spend, that may be a good thing. It would be pretty easy for an owner like Nutting to fall in love with the idea of trading a pick that more-or-less obligates him to spend $7MM (the slot amount at 4) for a prospect from another team where the bonus has already been paid whether it made baseball sense or not.


Boy oh boy🙂…allowing the trading of picks makes the NFL draft must see TV, but, I know MLB draft is such a different animal…but could add some excitement🤔🤷‍♂️


You want to trade 1-4 for a post-hype arm? Good effing God!


Like MacKenzie Gore was, and with a package of other top arms, um yes – thanks for asking


I don’t think a 1-4 would be enough to get Gore, let alone Gore plus.


Easy to say now that Gore is pitching elite.


Like who though? Target teams who are rebuilding but high in pitching prospect talent? I’m not sure you’d get a top flight guy either.

Interesting concept though. It really would be nice if they allowed draft pick trades.

Last edited 2 months ago by ArkyWags

I’ve probably spent too much time thinking about this. Some profiles of teams that would acquire a pick:

  • Teams in the advanced stages of rebuilding, where their 40-man roster is overflowing with 40+ FV prospects. You could pick up 2 40+ FV arms at AA for a mid-first round pick maybe (mid-first round generally has a FV of 45-50, but you’re years away and there’s a high risk, so the factors kind of balance out).
  • Teams that have a shallow draft pool, whether because they’re in the luxury tax penalty or consistently picking at the tail end of each round. The slot value of a higher pick gives them some flexibility to grab a high school senior whose bonus demands don’t match up with his slot value.
  • Teams that prefer to max out on R4 draft and punt the international draft. The Angels come to mind. They flat out suck at developing Latin American talent. Up the road, the Dodgers are amazing at it. The Dodgers trading some picks for the Angels’ international draft pool would be an interesting swap.
  • Teams picking up other teams’ dead contracts. Probably a limited use case, but if a team is in teardown mode, it could attach picks instead of prospects or (*more) money to move otherwise unmovable contracts.
  • Teams who want to move up within the round to get a specific player that they may feel is the last impact bat/arm in the draft. Of course in order for a trade like this to be consummated, the team that deals the higher pick would have to disagree.

That said, I don’t see many scenarios where the return on a top 5 pick matches up with the value foregone. Maybe you get a vet on an expensive contract but who is still producing, if the acquiring team is looking to rebuild (i.e., that vet is the only good player and the competitive window falls outside the end of his contract). Younger players or 50 FV prospects who are not struggling would be valuable to any team on the win curve, and I don’t think anyone would take the risk to pick up a struggling prospect for a top 5 pick. The headliner would need to be more of a sure thing.


You’ve spent too much time thinking about something that can’t happen like trading MLB draft picks? I say that’s time we’ll spent, sir.

If trading within a division, I’d wonder about a team like the Reds (Castillo or Mahle) for that type of draft pick.


Great breakdown, i think that trading picks would add a really fun aspect. Also, teams that really believe in their ability to scout and develop might prefer the opportunity to choose their own player rather than an 18 y/o from another system. Less likely than all of your examples, but still possible!


Hopefully next year about this time we’ll get to see Roansy, Burrows, and Priester pitching 3 of every 5 games. And if Keller can start showing consistency, Pirates will have, dare I say it, a formidable rotation.

Hope springs eternal.



Exactly my dream, probably all of ours. Thompson pitching like he could slot in as a #4 in that rotation. Let the competition for #5 hole begin with Keller, Brubaker, Yajure, Wilson, etc. Next year would probably be good time to invest in a FA to find our next AJ/Liriano as window opens. Really would like a LH, but fear that Omar Cruz is stalling out and may not reach back of rotation status.


I’m starting to worry that Priester’s missed time this year will push his eta to ’24, but there’s still plenty of baseball left this season so maybe he can get enough innings in to keep his eta as ’23.


It will push it to 24. Maybe he gets a cup of coffee next year, but this delayed start of 22 probably means his best case permanent arrival is in 24.


Was there someone who thought Priester would début in 2023? They have changed their mind. He’s got a lot of work to do.


Hes a prime candidate for the arizona fall league too, not that he would boost his innings total by a ton there but could be 20-30 i would think


I thought I read he was pitching in extended ST. I’m hopeful he shows enough by mid-season’23 to warrant a promotion to Pittsburgh.


I’d guess it’s this time two years from now.


Knowing this organization, you’re probably right.


I would bring him up to Pittsburgh for his next start and see what he can do…


Hard to identify someone more important to our plan to move to playing meaningful games in September, dare I say October, in the upcoming short term years than Burrows. We desperately need quality starters to start trickling up, Contreas is one, fingers crossed Burrows is ‘next’….🙏🙏


Any update on Quinn Priester?


In early may he was throwing off the “slope”, mound, so that is progress, sure others have heard better/later updates🤔


he’s healthy now. he’s supposedly just working on mechanical changes. that’s why he hasn’t debuted yet.


Cool, thanks👏👍👍



Feeling more and more confident about this man’s ability to become better than a 5 inning starter in Pittsburgh…needs promotion to Indy, NOW


Very much agree with both points.


I beg to differ. Tripling his 2021 innings would be risky.


It’s risky only if he shows fatigue or undue soreness. If he is healthy, it is risky not to let him continue to pitch. Babying pitchers with innings totals has not limited injuries.


better than a 5 inning starter in 2023/long term.


Same problem with Bolton, maybe come up as swing man or two inning openers.

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