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2023 Cubs player profiles: Nick Burdi

36th in a series. Burdi has been hurt and/or ineffective for his entire career, though he began with plenty of promise and a three-digit heater.

Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

Hinsdale native Nicholas Edward Burdi was born January 19, 1993 and his baseball growth commenced when he was drafted in Round 2 of the 2014 Major League Draft, No. 46 overall, by the Minnesota Twins, from Louisville College. He went to Downers Grove South High School, and is one of the most famous alumni of that institution, which also boasts musicians from My Chemical Romance and Kill Hannah. His brother Zack plays for the Dodgers and is in their minor-league system at Oklahoma City.

His baseball career has to be termed underwhelming, as he has amassed a 2-2 record in 19 games, scattered over four years as a big-leaguer with Pittsburgh and now the Cubs. His total innings pitched is 15⅓. He spent 2022 in the depths of the San Diego system and was invited to Spring Training by the Cubs.

It’s unlikely that the Cubs were counting on him for much. His minor-league stats are also unprepossessing. At age 30, he makes the MLB minimum and is coming to his ARB1 year.

He’s thrown a couple of bullpens recently, so it’s possible that he could appear in the Cubs’ pen. He was on the 26-man active roster when he was stricken by appendicitis and was put on the 60-day IL.

As a reliever, Burdi features a two-pitch mix, four-seam fastball and slider. He doesn’t yet wield the ‘Cubbie slider’ that several pitchers have deployed to their advantage. He does however throw a 96-98 mph heater (sometimes harder) and the aforementioned slider, which has good break.

He’s had two rounds of TJS and clearly there isn’t much mileage on his arm. But he just as clearly is unable to make it through a season without breaking down for some reason and his potential will probably be unrealized.

I suppose the Cubs could keep him (or re-sign him), depending on his Triple A performance the rest of this season, but it would be as an NRI to next year’s spring festivities after a release. I sure can’t see keeping a 40-man spot open for Nick Burdi, affecting as his hard-luck story is. But I can see him bobbing along in the minors, unless he’s related to the Burr Ridge Burdi clan that sells exclusive Italian menswear and can run a franchise.

Maybe he makes it back to the bigs as an injury replacement, or because someone is enamored with his big arm. But the most-likely scenario is for Burdi to finish the season in Des Moines, get released, and wait for a phone call.

Next: Daniel Palencia, Nelson Velasquez, Jared Young.