In disappointing news for the Minnesota Twins, top pitching prospect Nick Burdi will miss the rest of the 2017 season following Tommy John surgery.
Following an almost completely lost 2016 season due to a bone bruise in his elbow, Nick Burdi is set to miss the rest of the 2017 season with what Minnesota Twins Chief Baseball Officer Derek Falvey labelled a “full thickness tear” of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL). The surgery, which has seen a troubling rise over the last few seasons, is usually associated with a 12-18 month recovery time, meaning that Burdi will likely miss some time to start off the 2018 campaign, as well.
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Burdi, a top-100 prospect, was off to a hot start in 2017, surrendering just the one run over 17 innings pitched. With a fastball that touches 100 with regularity and a hard slider that will flash plus, Burdi has struck out 20 of 61 batters faced, while walking just four. The 46th overall pick in the 2015 draft, Burdi’s big fastball and track record of success at the collegiate level led many evaluators to believe he could have an almost instant impact at the big league level. That clearly hasn’t been the case after a second injury-shortened season for Burdi.
The loss of Burdi is a big blow for a Twins squad that has surprised many, sitting on top of the AL Central. A breakout season from third baseman Miguel Sano and a general strong start from the offense has hidden a disappointing start from the Twins’ pitching staff. With the bullpen currently ranked the fifth worst in baseball by Fangraphs, the addition of Burdi would have been a welcome sight as the team tries to hang in the race.
For the Twins, however, it’s not all bad news. On a related note, former top-100 prospect Lewis Thorpe made his second start of the season after recovering from his own bout with Tommy John surgery. Thorpe hadn’t made a start since the 2014 season but has looked sharp in two starts so far (8 IP, 2 ER, 9 K) and is reportedly pitching around the 93-94 mph mark.