Zack Burdi, another young arm on the farm, also projects to be “called up” at some point in 2019. Zack is a local boy, growing up in Downers Grove, and playing his high school ball at Downers Grove South. Burdi pitched so well in high school he got an athletic scholarship to Louisville, where he spent the next 3 seasons before being drafted 26th overall by the White Sox in 2016. The Sox were considering using the 26th pick on current White Sox prospect Dane Dunning, who they ended up getting anyways with a trade with the Washington Nationals. Funny how that works out, eh? The apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, his brother Nick was a Rule 5 Pick for the Pirates in 2017, via the Twins.
The white Sox obviously believed highly in Zack as they drafted him much higher than strictly relief pitchers normally get drafted. Zack was on the fast track to the majors, almost immediately upon being drafted his skill was evident. In 2016 alone, his draft year, he moved quickly to AAA Charlotte after making stops in rookie, high A, and AA before ultimately ending the season in AAA. That season Zach pitched a total of 38 innings, in 26 games, all out of the pen. He only surrendered three home runs and had a 2.5 strikeout to walk ratio, with a 1.13 WHIP.
Burdi started the 2017 season back in AAA, on track for a promotion to, “The Show.” But unfortunately in July of 2017 his season was cut short, he underwent Tommy John surgery to repair a torn UCL in his elbow. The injury and recovery cost Zack the rest of that season and most of 2018. Before the injury Zack appeared in 29 games for 33.1 innings, he gave up only 3 home runs and improved his strikeout to walk ratio to 3. 2018 was spent largely as a rehab year making appearances in the Arizona Rookie League and being sent to the White Sox Arizona Fall League too.
Zack will begin 2019 in AAA Charlotte, with eyes toward a promotion to the bigs. Zack has a devastating fastball that sits at 95-100 mph and touched 102. He has a plus slider that reaches the low 90s and has great break. Zack also has a changeup that hasn’t been featured much in his minor league career, but when it has been used, it can provide entertainment making hitters look silly when they are expecting 90 miles per hour or higher. I think he will work on the command and mix of that pitch in AAA this season to add it in. If Zack can come back from his injury and get back to the level he was at before, he will be added to an already strong bullpen, and used in high leverage situations by the end of this season.
Rick Hahn said “We are pleased with where he’s at right now. We had always said that the target for him would be to be essentially back without restriction in 2019. That continues to be the case” in regards to Zacks rehab. It seems he is on track to be an asset for the White Sox very soon.
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