Pitchers and catchers reported to Spring Training at the beginning of the week, although most had already arrived. One of the more interesting things early in camp has been the addition of a new pitch for prospect Mike Burrows.
Already armed with one of the best fastballs and curveballs, as well as a changeup he made great progress with, Burrows flashed a new slider this week, shown in a great side-by-side video by Alex Stumpf below. Alex had more about the pitch in a recent post on DK Pittsburgh Sports.
Couple of Mike Burrows videos. First is his curveball. Second is his new slider.
Really can see how they move differently pic.twitter.com/SbX9CIqlPu
— Alex Stumpf (@AlexJStumpf) February 16, 2023
Burrows struggled after reaching Triple-A, posting a 5.31 ERA in 42.1 innings with Indianapolis. He saw his strikeout rate drop nearly 10% from Double-A.
Adding the slider will give hitter’s another pitch to account for, on top of his already two plus offerings he had before hand.
We saw Quinn Priester add a slider to give a different look, and it was actually one of his better pitches this past Arizona Fall League.
The Pirates major league rotation seems to be set, for the most part, so Burrows will have plenty of time to work on incorporating the slider in with the rest of his pitches.
Rich Hill Leadership
Especially when you have such a young team, having a strong veteran presence can really make the difference in certain players making the next step in their progression or not.
Jose Quintana got rave reviews from the remaining Pirates pitchers after he was traded last year to the St. Louis Cardinals. This offseason, the Pirates made sure they went out and brought in another veteran that can mentor some of the younger starters.
If you are looking for experience, it’s hard to do better than Rich Hill, who has over 13 years of service time. It looked like that mentorship was at work already, as he was seen talking to Johan Oviedo.
Rich Hill, 42, assists Johan Oviedo, 24, with his breaking ball following Oviedo's bullpen session on Feb. 17, 2023 at Pirate City in Bradenton.
(Photo: Justice delos Santos) pic.twitter.com/chXxk3s55t
— Justice delos Santos (@justdelossantos) February 17, 2023
After the Cardinals moved Oviedo to the bullpen last year, the Pirates switched him back into the rotation after joining the organization. If there is a competition for the fifth spot, he’ll be in the thick of it, and if Oviedo wants to further develop as a starter, there may not be a better person to get tips from.
Pirates Prospects Daily
By Tim Williams
**The Pirates Daily Video Rundown has returned! This site is so old that there was a time when we were prohibited from posting video on the internet of a short-season A-ball appearance from a young Joely Rodriguez — for the sole reason that posting prospect videos to the internet just wasn’t done back then.
Today, there are tons of videos of prospects before we even step foot into Pirate City. We’ll be providing our own videos throughout the year from all over the system, but the Pirates DVR will aim to keep you updated on every source.
**The Pirates won their arbitration hearing against Ji-Man Choi.
**The Pirates’ Spring Training schedule will include all 16 home games.
**Missed yesterday? Anthony wrote about how Ji-Hwan Bae could be a wildcard in the Pirates’ lineup this year.
Song of the Day
Have to love the way Ortiz, Priester, and Burrows have developed, and I am hoping that Contreras and Oviedo show well at the MLB level.
Rich Hill will help a lot, and I hope we find a way to get some of our LHP’s to spend some time in his company at Pirate City throwing BP’s. Watching LHRP’s Nick Dombkowski and Tyler Samaniego who both had solid years at AA. Two RHRP’s to watch at AAA will be Colin Selby and JC Flowers. Saminiego (10) and Selby (8) accounted for 18 Saves at Altoona.
If he can command those two pitches, he will be displacing someone in the rotation after Super 2 passes.
It is due to the last 3 first round picks that it appears as though the Pirates neglected pitching. Nothing could be farther from the truth than that. The organization is pitching-rich. It does lack #1 or #2 starters.
The lower levels are pretty stocked up on pitching but from Altoona through Pittsburgh you still have to talk yourself into believing there’s a reliable, quality, division contending caliber rotation. This season could change that perception though. If Burrows and Priester take developmental leaps and Roansy can prove either that he has a third pitch or that “F it, I don’t need a third pitch cuz you can’t hit this fastball or slider” then I will be much more happy about the pitching outlook moving forward.
As long as Burrow can command his pitches, I a, optimistic. Lots of guys with great stuff, but commanding it proved insurmountable.
Liked the mention of Joely Rodriguez – in a thread about a week ago I wondered why the Pirates did not go after him instead of Jarlin Garcia.
Part of the reason for Burrows issues at AAA was that he was getting close to his limit of innings. Only got 49 at GBO in ’21 and then 15 more in the AFL. At AA he threw 12 Starts, 52 IP of 2.94 ERA, 11.94/3.29 K/BB/9/. At AAA his K/9 dropped to 8.93 (still good), but his BB/9 dropped to 2.55 which is definitely a good sign.
Possibly trying to cruise out and rest up for 2023. Like the fact that he, Ortiz, and Priester are going to be right there at AAA if they get the chance – possibility for spot starts and then right back to Indy.
Almost certainly will Pirates need at least 8 SP’s over 162 games. If Burrows stays healthy, he’ll get to ply his trade in Pittsburgh this year.
Burrows is going to be a solid major league starter. I feel more confident about him than any other arm in the upper minors… or in the current rotation to be honest.
Feel the same way, unless Ortiz refines his change. The only question I still have of Burrows is his durability.