Yankees’ bullpen flyer touching 100 MPH on fastball, showing unexpected upside

MLB: New York Yankees-Workouts

Nick Burdi bounced around multiple organizations in his professional career before the New York Yankees signed him to a Minor League free-agent deal earlier in the winter. One of many players in camp on non-roster invites to Spring Training, he’s stood out as one of the most interesting pitchers they brought into the organization. Sporting a dominant fastball from an arm slot that’s tough to pick up, Burdi could be a name to watch this spring, as he has boosted his stock dramatically in the early weeks.

With how effective he’s looked early on, he’s beginning to emerge as one of the frontrunners to grab a spot in the Yankees bullpen on Opening Day.

Nick Burdi Impressing Yankees Officials Early in Camp

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies
Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not surprising that Nick Burdi has emerged as one of the standouts in Spring Training for the Yankees, as an initial look at his pitch mix reveals everything you need to know. Stuff is arguably the most important aspect of a reliever’s makeup, and that’s because things like command and pitchability matter a lot less in shorter spurts. When you’re coming out of the bullpen, you’re usually getting just an inning of work, and Nick Burdi has some of the nastiest stuff in all of baseball.

The stuff is flat-out gross, and Aaron Boone raved about the 31-year-old earlier today after another impressive showing on the mound:

With how well the Yankees have developed lottery ticket arms into reliable bullpen weapons, you have to imagine that a healthy Nick Burdi could emerge as a legitimate option for Aaron Boone in 2024. Last season, the Yankees gave a non-roster invite to Ian Hamilton, and after some injuries created openings in their bullpen, his filthy ‘slambio’ would find itself in a multi-inning role for the Yankees, and he tossed 58 innings with a 2.64 ERA, finishing second behind Clay Holmes in fWAR (1.1) for relievers on the team.

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The injury to Scott Effross has created an opening in their bullpen, and it’s all-hands-on-deck for the Yankees who have plenty of injury concerns in their pitching staff. How different guys respond to injury and other circumstances will determine how far this team goes, but having an excellent bullpen can mask your rotation issues during the regular season. While the Yankees finished in the bottom half of the league in starting pitching production, they still had an above-average ERA thanks to their league-best 3.34 ERA from the bullpen.

Arms like Nick Burdi can emerge in camp and become under-the-radar weapons for the team, and their aggressiveness in Minor League free agency could yield a bevy of talented arms that can contribute during the year. The Yankees will have their depth tested in 2024, but Nick Burdi stands out as a name who could be a first-man-up or just make the team out of Spring Training. His stuff is incredible and the upside there is enormous.

With two fastball shapes that average over 97 MPH on the radar gun and a slider with plenty of sweep on it, his abnormal release point could give opposing hitters plenty of trouble. He’s been lighting it up early on in camp, and the Yankees are buzzing about what they’re seeing in the right-hander.

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