burgosHiram Burgos RHP

Age: 25
Height: 5’11″
Weight: 208
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Profile:  Burgos was selected in the sixth round of the 2009 draft following a successful college career at Bethune-Cookman. He began his pro career with Helena in 2009 where he went 3-2 in 14 games, including seven starts. He spent the 2010 season between Helena and Low-A Wisconsin going 8-7 overall. That earned Burgos a promotion to High-A Brevard County for the 2011 campaign. He posted a 4.89 ERA in 24 games.

The Brewers decided to send Burgos back to Brevard to start 2012. He pitched in seven games, putting up a 0.87 ERA and earning a bump up to AA Huntsville. Burgos continued to roll from there, going 6-1 in 13 Southern League starts for the Stars. He struck out 77 in 83 innings before once again being moved up to AAA Nashville. With the Sounds, Burgos started eight games, going 2-2 with a 2.91 ERA.

His dominant 2012 season put Burgos on the map. He was named the Brewers Minor League Pitcher of the Year for 2012 and was then selected to participate in the 2013 World Baseball Classic for his native Puerto Rico. Burgos pitched in three games out of the bullpen for Puerto Rico, giving up just one run over 13 innings of work.

Strengths: They key to Burgos’ attack is his pin-point command. He throws a variety of pitches, some scouting reports have him with as many as five different offerings. His best pitch may be his curveball which he does a good job of throwing strikes with, while also keeping it out of the zone when needed as well. Burgos also throws a fastball, cutter, change-up and will mix in a slider once in a while for good measure. He mixes up his pitches well, making them all the more effective. Despite the fact that he will be making his Major League debut on Saturday night, Burgos should not be intimidated by the big stage. His experience pitching in some pressure situations during the WBC should serve him well.

Weaknesses:  Burgos does not have overpowering stuff. His fastball usually sitting between just 89-91. Many people have compared the Puerto Rican righty to Mike Fiers who had similar success but began to struggle once big league hitters got a look at him. There are some concerns that the same could happen with Burgos once hitters get to see him a few times and gather more info on him.

The Future:  While command is key for a starting pitcher, Burgos lack of velocity may eventually prove to be his downfall. He projects as a 4th or 5th starter and will likely battle with other pitchers, like Fiers, for a spot in the rotation. The Brewers will go with the hot hand, whoever that may be. Milwaukee doesn’t need a fifth starter again until April 30th so they could choose to send Burgos back to Nashville after Saturday, so as not to skip a start. They could replace him with a reliever and then bring him back if his Saturday start goes well, or they could choose to use him out of the bullpen until a fifth starter is needed.