Burrows tosses gem in final Arizona start

November 17th, 2021

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Michael Burrows saved the best for last.

The 22-year-old right-hander finished his season in dominant fashion, striking out the side in the second en route to three scoreless innings in Peoria’s 5-2 win over Surprise on Wednesday at Surprise Stadium.

“It feels really good,” the Pirates’ No. 14 prospect said. “Worked on a couple things this week and it all kind of came together this start. I get to go to the offseason on a good foot.”

Burrows didn’t have complete command, but was still effective with a fastball that sat in the mid-90s, a curveball and a changeup. He threw 35 of his 55 pitches for strikes, struck out six and retired nine of the 11 batters he faced.

“I think I outstuffed them,” Burrows said after giving up just one hit and one walk. “I wasn’t really locating as well as I wanted to. More so, just getting ahead in counts and putting them away.”

The scoreless outing was Burrows’ first since Oct. 19, his first appearance of the fall and also the last time he allowed just two baserunners in a game. Overall, the right-hander finished his stint in Arizona with a 3.52 ERA and 16 strikeouts over 15 1/3 innings.

Signed for $500,000 as an 11th-round pick in the 2018 Draft, Burrows bypassed a UConn commitment and began his career in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League. He made his full-season debut in 2019 and spent this past season with High-A Greensboro.

A quick glance at the numbers illustrates the improvements Burrows made over the past season as he continues to work his way up the organizational ladder.

While an oblique injury limited Burrows to just 49 innings in 2021, when he was healthy, he amassed a 2.20 ERA. His 12.12 K/9 was the highest of his career and his 3.67 BB/9 was down from the 4.12 mark he posted in 2019.

“Just attacking hitters, having a better mentality about it,” Burrows said of the differences. “I really put a lot of things together over COVID and throughout last offseason and it really came together this year.”

A solid 2021 campaign followed by some extra development in Arizona puts Burrows in a good spot as he heads into the offseason. While the first goal for 2022 will be to remain healthy and continue to accumulate innings, Burrows also has his sights set on the Majors. He knows there are some things he needs to continue to improve upon first.

“Just have three dominant pitches and do my best to get outs,” he said of his 2022 goals. “Obviously I want to be in the bigs some day, so that’s the last step, getting there and staying there for a long time.”

Burrows wasn’t the only Pirates prospect to turn in a noteworthy performance for Peoria.

Carmen Mlodzinski (No. 10) sealed the victory with two scoreless innings in relief. Canaan Smith-Njigba (No. 27) put the Javelinas on the board in the second with a 395-foot two-run homer to left as part of a 2-for-3 afternoon. Ji-hwan Bae (No. 22) also doubled, scored twice and took away extra bases with a running catch in the right-center gap in the final frame.

As for the Saguaros, Jake Means (Royals) hit a two-run homer and Justin Foscue (TEX 4) finished 2-for-4, the only Surprise player with two or more hits.