Yankees may have stumbled on another bullpen gem

mlb: chicago cubs at philadelphia phillies, nick burdi, yankees
John Geliebter-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have a history of success finding quality bullpen arms from seemingly nowhere ever since pitching coach Matt Blake took over. Players like Clay Holmes and Ian Hamilton have maximized their talents with the Bombers, but Blake may have stumbled upon another bullpen gem in Nick Burdi, a 31-year-old who has dealt with injury in the past.

Burdi had an opportunity to face off against some of the Yankees’ top hitters in a live batting session on Friday, striking out DJ LeMahieu, Anthony Volpe, and Giancarlo Stanton. His fastball averages between 98–100 mph, and he combines it with a slider and change-up mix. Even manager Aaron Boone was blown away by how great his stuff looked.

“You talk about stuff — that’s great stuff,” Boone said Friday afternoon.

The Challenge of Overcoming Injuries

As mentioned, Burdi has a lengthy injury history, suffering through two Tommy John surgeries. However, when he’s available, Burdi is a high-strikeout pitcher who touches triple digits with his fastball.

Over 15.1 MLB innings, he has a 9.39 ERA, which is certainly nothing to write home about. However, he struck out 15.85 batters per nine in that sample size, including a 45.8% left-on-base rate and 23.7% ground ball rate. Burdi has the potential to be a tremendous asset for the Yankees; they need him to remain healthy and utilize his pitches effectively.

“Been really good early in camp,” Boone said. “Stuff’s as good as it gets.”

READ MORE: Yankees making moves at leadoff hitter to open spring training

The Yankees See Burdi’s Potential

This off-season will certainly test Burdi’s composition and stamina. Having already dominated some of the team’s best hitters, the next step will be live spring training action against other teams, where he can showcase his stuff and hopefully put together a strong off-season that constitutes a spot on the active roster.

At the very least, they can stash Burdi in Triple-A, and since he has three minor-league options, they have plenty of team control over his services, which is beneficial in case of emergency.

However, it is evident that Burdi has the stuff to be an impact pitcher out of the bullpen this upcoming season, but the Yankees want to see a lot more before they can trust him, having only pitched 15.1 innings of major league ball.

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