Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #46 Hiram Burgos

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We’re headed for the weekend here in Wisconsin and we officially reached 28 degrees (farenheit) as a high temperatures today! Spring is certainly in the air. Of course, Opening Day comes after the season of winter finally gives way to spring. And counting down to Opening Day is what “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” is all about.

Today is Thursday, February 13th and we are 46 days shy of that first pitch of the regular season.

As such, we’ll take a look back at the 2013 season of…

Hiram Burgos.

HiramBurgos

Hiram Burgos made his MLB debut in 2013 for the Milwaukee Brewers. He was one of many players to make their debuts last season, but Burgos had a unique situation is how he arrived there. If you’re curious about Burgos’ professional career after being drafted in 2009, signing right away, and finishing the 2012 season with Class-AAA Nashville but then continuing to stay ready in Arizona while the Brewers finished their season in case they needed a spot starter… If you’re curious about all that, I’ll refer you to last year’s profile on Burgos where I laid all that out. (History hasn’t changed.)

As for 2013, Burgos entered the year as a new 40-man rosteree and headed to his first big league camp. His time in camp was shortened considerably by his participation in the World Baseball Classic on behalf of Team Puerto Rico, however.

Burgos was masterful pitching for his home team. In three relief appearances, Burgos went 1-0 with a 0.69 ERA and held opponents down with a 1.23 WHIP and by recording 12 strikeouts in his 13.0 IP. He was a key cog in Puerto Rico’s run to the WBC Finals.

Around his WBC games, Burgos made a total of three appearances in Cactus League play, pitching a total of 10.1 innings and throwing a total of 69 pitches. The results don’t make much difference, as they tend not to in Spring Training, but with a healthy rotation at the end of camp and the late addition of Kyle Lohse, Burgos simply wasn’t going to break camp in the rotation last year.

Unforseen, however, was the call that came to then-manager Mike Guerrero in mid-April that summoned Burgos to the big leagues. Milwaukee was in need of a starting pitcher after optioning Mike Fiers to Nashville. (For more on that, read the Fiers profile at the link at the bottom of this post.)

Burgos arrived and pitched well in a shorter start against the Chicago Cubs in his debut (5.0 IP, 1 ER) and picked up his first Win. He would make two “quality starts” in the rotation after that. Then, a nightmare.

On May 11th, on nine days rest, Burgos was given the ball to start against the Cincinnati Reds. In just 3.0 innings, Burgos was left in the game to throw 88 pitches, allowing 12 runs (10 of them earned) on 11 hits and three walks. He only allowed one home run in all that, if that helps illustrate the pitcher from that day. He was the definition of knocked around. Ron Roenicke was almost forced to stick with Burgos that long as the Brewers bullpen was extremely short that night.

There’s no way to know for sure, but in his second start (on regular rest) after the debacle in Cincinnati, he left his start on May 21st against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Miller Park with shoulder stiffness. Roenicke later admitted that Burgos had first reported the shoulder issue following the 88-pitch night at Great American Ballpark.

Burgos would make a couple of rehab starts before his activation and immediate optioning to Triple-A Nashville. All told, the man who made 27 starts and pitched in 28 games at three levels of the minor leagues in 2012 would make just 15 total starts in 2013. Hopefully it was just a little bit of karmic balancing in 2013 after his 2012 was such a positive ride.
 
Finishing up this offseason with a stint in winter ball, Burgos once again pitched very well and was named his league’s best pitcher. In a very small sample, Burgos has shown that he’s capable of being a back-of-the-rotation contributor. He won’t get that chance with Milwauke to begin 2014. There were already arguably at least six pitchers ahead of him, and then the Brewers went out and added Matt Garza pushing Burgos back a slot in Nashville’s rotation to begin the year.
 
The now 26-year-old right-hander will certainly get to camp and do the work necessary to be ready to go if something happens like it did in 2013. If there’s one thing that you can count on with Hiram Burgos, it’s that he’s willing to work. And even if he starts the team as the 8th starter, how many teams don’t use that many in a season between injuries, spot starts, and double-headers?
 
In other words, opportunity can always present itself. It’ll be up to Burgos to capitalize the next it does like he has before.
 
 
You can follow Hiram Burgos on Twitter: @Burgos196

Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:

21 Comments

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