Pirates’ Mike Burrows Undergoes Tommy John Surgery


Pirates pitching prospect Mike Burrows underwent Tommy John surgery yesterday and is expected to be sidelined for the next 14 to 16 months, the team announced to reporters (Twitter link via Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic). Burrows hit the minor league injured list earlier this month with a UCL sprain and sought multiple opinions before undergoing surgery.

The Pirates selected Burrows in the 11th round of the 2018 draft and lured him away from a college commitment to Connecticut with a hefty $500K signing bonus — effectively late-third or early-fourth round money. He’s dealt with shoulder and oblique injuries in his minor league career but has sharp numbers overall, with a 3.34 ERA, 27.1% strikeout rate and 9.0% walk rate in 207 2/3 professional innings.

Those injuries and the canceled minor league season in 2020 slowed Burrows’ development, but he looked like a viable option to make his big league debut in 2023, prior to the revelation of the damaged ligament and subsequent surgery. Burrows turned in a 2.94 ERA in 52 innings at the Double-A level last year and earned his first bump to the Triple-A level. He was tagged for a 5.31 ERA in 42 1/3 Triple-A frames but showed a promising 42-to-12 K/BB ratio and kept the ball in the yard (1.06 HR/9). Burrows had a solid spring training this year (two runs in five innings) and opened the season with just two runs in 6 2/3 frames in a return to Triple-A.

Each of Baseball America (No. 9), (No. 9), FanGraphs (No. 7) and Keith Law of The Athletic (No. 7) rank Burrows within the Pirates’ top ten prospects. He’s praised for a plus fastball, high-spin curveball and improved and more oft-used changeup, with enough command to profile as a potential big league starter. There’s a good chance that Burrows might’ve gotten that opportunity at some point this season were it not for the unfortunate injury, but he’ll now see his big league debut pushed off until late in the 2024 season, at the earliest.

Burrows is on the Pirates’ 40-man roster, so it’s possible he’ll eventually be placed on the Major League 60-day injured list, should the Pirates need a 40-man roster spot. In that scenario, he’d accrue big league service time and Major League pay while rehabbing the injury.

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