Buddy Borden

Born: April 29, 1992
Height: 6’3″
Weight: 210
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 7th Round, 209th Overall, 2013 (Pirates)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
College: UNLV
Agent: N/A


Borden had a breakout season as a junior at UNLV and was rated the 376th best draft prospect by Baseball America.  He sits in the low-90s, but has reached 96 MPH at times.  He throws a curve and change, but neither pitch is strong.  He had a rough freshman season in his limited action, but improved substantially as a sophomore.  UNLV plays in a hitter’s ballpark, which may have affected his confidence until his junior season.  That confidence, plus better command, led to a full-time role as a starter and eventually he was named the Mountain West Co-Pitcher of the Year, sharing the honors with first round selection Braden Shipley.  Borden signed about a week before the deadline.  He was reportedly seeking an above-slot deal, but ended up signing for the slot amount.

A-:  0-0-0, 1.08 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 16.2 IP, 2.7 BB/9, 12.4 K/9

The Pirates got Borden acclimated slowly.  He didn’t pitch until nearly a month after he signed and he didn’t work his way up to five innings until his last of six outings.  They may have been concerned about the layoff and also about the fact that his inning totals in college accelerated rapidly.  Obviously, his debut was outstanding across the board in the small number of innings he threw.  Opponents hit .169 against him, apart from everything else.  According to Baseball America, his fastball ranged from 90-93, but played better due to good sink.

A:  7-9-1, 3.16 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 128.0 IP, 3.4 BB/9, 8.6 K/9

Borden had a good season in the West Virginia rotation.  He held opponents to a 220/298/345 line and fanned nearly a batter an inning.  When he had problems, it was generally due to his control.  Borden started the season well, had a rough month of June, and then finished very strongly.  Over the season’s last two months, he had a WHIP of 0.95 and fanned 65 in 57.2 IP.  He seemed to suddenly address the control issues in August, walking only four in 27 innings.  Borden was a flyball pitcher and had a reverse platoon split, allowing right-handed hitters a .731 OPS while holding left-handed hitters to .556.  After the season, the Pirates sent him to Tampa Bay for Sean Rodriguez.

A+:  9-7-0, 2.97 ERA, 1.27 WHIP, 127.1 IP, 4.1 BB/9, 6.7 K/9

The Rays used Borden in a swing role in the Florida State League; he made 17 starts and 11 relief appearances.  He wasn’t as effective as the ERA indicates, as his walk and K rates were weak and over a quarter of the runs he allowed were unearned.  He was only slightly better against right-handed than left-handed batters.

A+:  1-6-0, 7.23 ERA, 1.90 WHIP, 47.1 IP, 5.1 BB/9, 6.5 K/9
AA (TB):  1-0-3, 5.22 ERA, 1.67 WHIP, 29.1 IP, 6.4 BB/9, 7.4 K/9

Borden pitched exclusively in relief in AA and struggled due to control problems.  The Rays released him in June and the Pirates signed him later in the month.  They assigned him to Bradenton, where they needed a starter.  The Rays’ decision to release him seemed hasty at the time, but it became less mysterious as Borden struggled badly with the Marauders.  His control was poor and, when he got the ball over, it got hit hard.

Somewhat surprisingly, the Pirates will move Borden up to AA to open the 2017 season.  He’ll pitch in relief.

2017: Minor league contract
Signing Bonus: $180,400
MiLB Debut: 2013
MLB Debut:
MiLB FA Eligible: 2019
MLB FA Eligible:
Rule 5 Eligible: 2016
Added to 40-Man:
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
June 7, 2013: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 7th round, 209th overall pick; signed on July 8.
December 1, 2014: Traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Tampa Bay Rays for Sean Rodriguez.
June 10, 2016: Released by the Tampa Bay Rays.
June 27, 2016: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league free agent.