Nick Gordon was the talk of Twins Territory when the Twins selected him with the fifth overall pick in Thursday's night's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
The guy the Twins picked in the second round has the potential to become a dominant closer in the big leagues.
His name is Nick Burdi. He's the closer from Louisville, and he can throw really, really, really, really, really hard.
As hard as 103 miles per hour, according to the Pioneer Press. The hard-throwing right-hander started routinely touching 100 mph on the radar gun the summer after his freshman year at Louisville.
“I was warming up, and it started flashing on the board that I was throwing 102, 103,” Burdi said after the Twins drafted him. “That’s kind of when it hit me that I was throwing pretty hard. It was kind of surreal.”
The Twins took Burdi with the 46th overall pick – far earlier than when they drafted him in the 24th round of the 2011 draft. Burdi didn't sign then, but he's since polished his game enough to become a two-time all-America closer for the Cardinals.
Twins scouting director Deron Johnson told beat writer Mike Berardino that Burdi threw as hard as 93 miles per hour as a senior in high school.
Burdi and the Cardinals are still alive as they continue to battle for a second consecutive trip to the College World Series.
According to Louisville athletics, Burdi has a 3-1 record with a ultra-slim 0.54 ERA and 58 strikeouts in 33 1/3 innings pitched this season. Opposing batters are hitting a paltry .125 against him this season.
Here's the scouting report on Burdi from Baseball America, via the Star Tribune.
He’s athletic with tremendous arm strength and runs his fastball into the 96-100 mph range consistently, maintaining that velocity over two- and three-inning outings. He has reached up to 103, and his fastball earns 80 grades from most scouts on the 20-80 scale. Burdi’s slider gives him a second premium pitch, reaching as high as 92-93 mph and sitting 87-90 with depth. One area scout called it “hard, late and unfair.” Scouts don’t consider his delivery and mentality suited for starting. He has learned to repeat his delivery better and should have enough control to close, and he could reach the major leagues in short order.
The draft continues at 12 p.m. today with rounds 3-10. Rounds 11-40 are Saturday.