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School: Louisville; Class: Junior
Position: RHP; B/T: R/R
Height: 6-4; Weight: 215 pounds
Previously Drafted: Minnesota Twins, 24th round, 2011
Background: After falling to the 24th round coming out of high school for reported signing bonus demands, Burdi’s placed himself squarely in the upper half of the first round, with the potential to land near the top 10 picks.
After a ho-hum first year with the Cardinals — 14 strikeouts and 10 walks in 22.2 innings — the hard-throwing right-hander has been nothing short of dominant since summer ball in 2012.
Burdi blew away the Cape Cop League competition during a brief eight-plus inning stint following his freshman season, posting a ridiculous 13-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’s continued that momentum since — during his first 43 games as Louisville’s closer, Burdi has fanned a remarkable 92 and walked just 19 in 53 innings of work.
Projection: Craig Kimbrel of the collegiate ranks – a pitcher that simply overpowers the competition with an elite ability to miss bats with a strong enough feel for the strike zone. His control has been steadily improving in each of his last two season, going from 3.97 BB/9 in 2011 to 3.28 as a sophomore and finally 3.12 BB/9 this season (4/16/14).
Perhaps the most impressive state, however, is the number one. The big right-hander’s surrendered just one homerun in his first 75.2 career innings.
Near big league ready, he should be among this class’s first waves to the big leagues.
Big, big strikeout ability with the potential to average nearly a punch out and a half per inning. He’s a very safe selection in terms of big league potential, though his career value will ultimately fall short in comparison with players like Carlos Rodon and Casey Gillaspie.
With fellow collegiate relievers like Michael Lorenzen and Corey Knebel closing out the supplemental first round last year, there’s no reason to suspect Burdi should fall past the 15th pick this June.
Ceiling: 2.5- to 3.0-win player
Floor: 1.0- to 1.5-win player
Likelihood of Reaching His Ceiling: Above-Average
Draft Projection: First/Second Round
Photo Courtesy of NickStover.org.