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An 11th-round pick back in 2018, Michael Burrows quickly emerged as one of the better pitchers in a very loaded Greensboro rotation last year. Though an injury forced him to miss a chunk of the season, Burrows struck out 66 batters in 49 innings pitched.
He was able to make some of those innings back with a stint in the Arizona Fall League, and was assigned to Altoona to begin 2022. Getting off to a good start, Burrows pitched four innings of two-hit, no run baseball while striking out four batters in his first start of the 2022 season.
Burrows was named the ninth ranked prospect here on Pirates Prospects.
At first glance, it would make sense for the Pirates to give an aggressive assignment to a 23-year old pitcher who spent last year at Low-A Bradenton. Even though Luis Ortiz doesn’t quite have the experience most his age has, the Pirates still gave him the push to Altoona.
Ortiz started Sunday’s game for the Curve, pitching three innings, one hit and two runs but suffered from some control issues, walking one and hitting another batter. He was recorded hitting as high as 98 mph with his fastball in the first inning, before settling in around 92-93 the rest of the way out.
Cruz made his final 14 appearances of the 2021 season with the Curve after starting the year with Burrows in the Greensboro rotation.
He starts 2022 again on Altoona’s pitching staff, although he got off to a little bit of a rough start. Pitching after Ortiz, the left-handed Cruz allowed two runs, a walk and a hit batter in 2 1/3 innings.
He did show a little more swing and miss stuff in his short outing on Sunday, striking out four and mixing in a few extra whiffs throughout. Cruz struck out 60 in 70 2/3 innings last year with the Curve.