School: University of Louisville; Class: Junior
Position: RHP; B/T: R/R
Height: 6-3; Weight: 205
Previously Drafted: N/A
Background: Not to be outdone by his flame-throwing, fireball-slinging older brother Nick Burdi, who, by the way, was a second round pick of the Minnesota Twins two years ago, Zack has taken the reigns on Louisville’s closer duties with relative ease. After being limited to just over 10 innings during his freshman season – one in which he posted a 6-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio – the younger Burdi blossomed during his sophomore campaign, throwing 29.1 innings while fanning 30, walking just eight, and posting a barely-there 0.92 ERA.
He also split his summer working out of the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team’s bullpen as well as starring for the Chatham Anglers in Cape Cod Summer League (for the second consecutive summer).
This season the hard-throwing right-hander has taken his relief work to a whole other level – one that’s eerily comparable to his brother’s numbers in college: Zack’s posted an impressive 45-to-7 strikeout-to-walk ratio in just 27.0 innings.
For his career, he’s averaging 10.88 strikeouts and just 2.6 walks per nine innings.
Projection: Not quite the track record that Nick’s resume had coming into the draft, Zack, nonetheless, has a similar skillset: throw hard, throw it harder, and blow it past ‘em. He’s reportedly run his fastball upwards of triple-digits, but he combines that with a surprising ability to limit walks.
The lone knock on him thus far has been his propensity to surrender the long ball; he’s given up four homeruns in his last 56.1 innings, not an absurd amount by any stretch of the means, but for a hurler with a plus-plus fastball it’s a little concerning.
Burdi is a solid bet to go in round two and develop into a late-end relief specialist.
Ceiling: 1.5-win player
Floor: 1.0-win player
Risk: Low to Moderate
Grade: Second Round