Video and Reports from Michael Burrows Debut; Braxton Ashcraft’s Second Start

Right-handed pitcher Michael Burrows made his pro debut on Monday in the Gulf Coast League. The 18-year-old from Connecticut was drafted in the 11th round this year and the Pirates gave him a $500,000 signing bonus. He was one of the last picks to sign and needed to get stretched out before getting into a game, which explains his late debut.

Burrows threw a two-inning sim game last Tuesday, the same day that second round pick Braxton Ashcraft was on the mound making his pro debut. Burrows followed Ashcraft today in the GCL and Tim Williams was there to get video and a live report.

Starting with the debut. Burrows threw 25 pitches over two innings, with 18 fastballs, six curves and one changeup. The fastballs were 90-92 MPH in the first frame, 88-90 MPH in the second. The curve was 77-80 MPH, and the changeup was 85 MPH. We have a video of every pitch here and the changeup is the final pitch of the game. You’ll definitely be able to tell the curves and fastballs apart. Burrows showed some nice control we don’t often see in the first pro game from a prep pitcher. The curve also looks better than advertised.

Braxton Ashcraft started the game and went three innings, allowing one run on two hits and a walk, with three strikeouts. That was a nice step up from his debut, which included two runs over two innings. Ashcraft threw 45 pitches total today. That total included 35 fastballs, seven curves and three changeups.

The video you see below is just the 16 pitches from the third inning and doesn’t include any changeups. He was 87-93 with the fastball, 78-80 curve and 83-84 changeup. During his first start, he topped out at 92 MPH. He hit 93 three times today, once in each inning.

John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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