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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Mike Burrows: Worked Past Control Issues On Way To First Win

It’s a long season, and you can’t expect a player to have their ‘best stuff’ each time they go out and play. We’ve all had bad days at work, where things just don’t seem to work out, so it’s something that we could easily expect from professional athletes.

While a lot of times you don’t want to take too much stock in a performance when you know it wasn’t their best, there are sometimes good things you can take out of it.

Namely how they respond to the adversity, or how they adjust their approach when they realize that they don’t have their best stuff.

The final stat line didn’t look bad, as Mike Burrows picked up his first win of the season after throwing five innings of two-run baseball, allowing four hits, walking two and hitting a batter while striking out six, but he had moments where he didn’t look his best.

Maybe the first two starts set such a high bar for him, but the control and command we’ve seen in previous starts wasn’t quite there. Burrows threw 75 pitches on Thursday, with only 44 going for strikes (58%). He had thrown 67% of his pitches for strikes in his first two starts combined.

Burrows showed his ability to bounce back after he surrendered a home run on the first pitch of the game.

He retired the next two by strikeout.

Fighting his control, he walked the next batter on four pitches before hitting the next before finally getting out of the inning with a fly out.

Here’s an entire look at his first inning, plenty of action going on with the home run, two strike outs, walk and hit batter.

He walked another batter later, but again he came back strong, erasing the baserunner after stepping off and catching him leaning too far out. Back to business with the hitter, Burrows works the count before finishing him off with a curveball to end the inning.

One final at-bat that stuck out, showing more of Burrows skill set and pitch sequencing. He alternates pitches, fighting back from a 3-1 count before getting the strikeout looking on a fastball on the outer corner.

The pitch before that though you could see how much Rafael Lantigua had to slow his bat down to make contact and stay alive in the at-bat, only to be sped up again with the fastball.

Three outings into the season, Burrows is off to a stellar start. To cap off his Thursday start, Burrows completed five innings for just the sixth time during his professional career and the first time since July 7, 2021.

Overall, Burrows has registered 16 strikeouts in 13 innings, walking just two (4.1 BB%, 33.3 K%) across his three starts.

Roansy Contreras’ performance with the Pirates has once again cemented his status as the team’s top pitching prospect (wasn’t really in doubt), but with Quinn Priester yet to throw in 2022, the door may have opened as to who may be second, with Burrows making as good a case as any to answer it.

THIS WEEK ON PIRATES PROSPECTS

Williams: What If There Were No Starting Pitchers?

Prospect Roundtable: Which Pitching Prospects Benefit From a Long-Reliever Approach?

Yerry De Los Santos thrives in pressure situations

Highlights from the Pirates Hitters on the Extended Spring Training Roster

Mike Burrows: Worked Past Control Issues On Way To First Win

Blake Sabol Showing Early Looks Of New Approach

Hudson Head Off to a Good Start, But Needs Swing Consistency to Maintain Numbers

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Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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