by Luke Siler
Nick Burdi – RHP
I’m not going to do an in-depth scouting report here because there is a lot of information on him out there. Here are links to John Sickels’s write up and Eric Longenhagen’s write up, both going into 2017. Basically, he throws his fastball in the high 90s to triples digits with some movement and life. He also has a slider that is plus with flashes of plus-plus. He’s had Tanner Scott type control issues, but he looked to have greatly improved in that category in spring training and the 17 innings he pitched in 2017. So why would a guy like this with elite closer stuff get left unprotected, well, he had TJS in May. So he won’t be ready to pitch until late 2018 at the earliest.
The question you have to ask yourself with Burdi is whether he is worth taking up the last spot on the 40 man roster in order to acquire him. He’ll be on the DL all year pretty much so no need to carry him this year, he’ll have to get active roster time in 2019 (Similar to the Santander situation this year). I’d argue that someone with his potential is worth the last spot on the 40 man roster over some depth signing or the Chris Lees of the world. If he recovers well from TJS, then you have a ready-made set-up/closer option in 2019.
Luke Bard – RHP
Bard has lost time to various injuries, he had surgery in 2014 to do a “latisimus reattachment and a teres major reattachment.”. It was so bad, the doctor was surprised he could even throw at all. All in all he pitched just 19 total innings his first 3 years in the minors. The last three years though he’s been pretty healthy throwing 52, 64, and 65 innings in relief. He was solid each of those seasons but his stuff and results really took a step forward in 2017. Bard struck out over 34% of all batters he faced between AA and AAA. He also induced infield fly balls at a usually high rate (pretty much as good as a strikeout). All told, nearly half of the batters he faced either struck out or popped out.
Short Scouting report – Bard is a tall, lean RHP who has a simple reliever’s delivery. He gets good extension and has good arm speed, with a consistent release point on his two pitches (fastball and slider). The fastball is fairly flat 93-96mph, with some downward plane, he can manipulate it though and give it some arm side run in exchange for some velocity (not sure if this is a different pitch 2 seamer?). He also has a slider that is above average but plays better than that due to his feel for it and ability to throw it in any count. It misses a lot of bats and he can manipulate the shape and speed of it to great effect.
Basically, Bard is your standard two-pitch reliever with two above-average pitches and above-average command. He also has a great feel for pitching, he is fearless and he knows how to attack hitters.