College closers don’t go in the first round very often anymore, but Burdi’s stuff was so good that the White Sox took him 26th overall in 2016 from the University of Louisville. He was on the fast track as expected before succumbing to Tommy John surgery in the middle of 2017. He made a few AZL appearances this season before heading to the Fall League to build innings. Burdi was shut down early due to overall workload considerations, and while his raw stuff wasn’t quite back to peak form, the ingredients of a dynamic two-pitch mix were still visible across a few looks with Glendale.
Burdi’s fastball ranged between 91-96 mph, sitting at 94 mph with heavy two-seam life to his armside. He worked free and easy, and the ease with which he got to 95-96 mph indicates Burdi shouldn’t have a problem getting back to the high-90s heat he showed before the injury. He got hard break on a 84-to-87 mph slider, showing enthusing feel to land the pitch for strikes when needed. Burdi mixed a few changeups from lefties, getting good separation off his fastball (84-to-86 mph) without sacrificing armspeed.
There’s some risk with Burdi entering 2019, as he’s coming off injury and is a relief-only prospect to begin with. That said, his stuff has looked capable of impacting the big leagues for awhile, and he’ll have a chance to reach the White Sox ‘pen with a fast start next season. Presuming his stuff can get anywhere close to the level it was before surgery, Burdi’s ceiling is a high-leverage reliever.