White Sox: Will Zack Burdi Make MLB Debut in 2017?

Can White Sox first round pick Zack Burdi reach majors this upcoming season? The right handed pitcher rose quickly through minors in 2016.

When the Chicago White Sox drafted Zack Burdi with the 26th overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, many wondered why the club would use such a high pick on a relief pitcher. The answer to that question is simple, because Burdi has closer ability, due to his 100 MPH fastball and electric slider.

As last season moved along, White Sox fans wondered if they would see Burdi with the big club in 2016. They didn’t, mostly due to the fact his control wasn’t MLB quality. This is something Burdi will need to be adept at when he reaches the big club.

Due to his overwhelming stuff, minor league hitters struggled mightily against Burdi in 2016. He fanned 51 batters in 38 innings, while allowing 23 hits however issuing 20 walks. The concern with Burdi is control, which did haunt him at Charlotte where he walked 11 batters in 16 IP.

Assuming Burdi does make it to the show, he is going to need to throw strikes consistently. Major league hitters will feast on a hard thrower who walks batters, regardless of how hard they throw. Burdi has struggled so far in locking down games in his pro career, as he has only saved one of three games in his pro career.

Given the fact Burdi pitched at all levels of the minors in 2016, you need to realize he was a bit rushed. There is a still a lot of time for him to improve, and with a plus plus fastball, not to mention a 90 MPH slider, there is no reason to think Burdi can’t be a successful major league reliver.

Moving forward, the question becomes when we will see him? A lot of that depends on when the White Sox brass decides to move David Robertson. While they will still have Nate Jones, if the club doesn’t plan on contending it doesn’t make sense to call Burdi to the majors if Robertson is still around.

The big key is when will Burdi be ready? Rushing him would be the worst thing to do, mostly because it would hurt, not help him. If he is able to develop any kind of a consistent changeup (which he has), it could make him a dominant closer. The point is to bring him up when he is ready to succeed not just when they have a spot open.

Overall, having a potential star closer in the system is a positive aspect for any rebuild. The question is how good will he be? With the game becoming more and more about shortening it, an elite bullpen is crucial now more than ever. In other words, the White Sox brass should not bring him up just to bring him up. But only when he is ready to excel at the major league level.

One good aspect of the rebuild is that even though the team may be awful at times, there is something to look forward to. Or at least we are hoping, White Sox fans.

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