After Highly Impressive Debut Season, 2018 Will Be an Interesting One to Watch for RHP Scott Burke

It's often stated to fans that they should not panic if a player struggles in his professional debut season after being drafted, and while less popular, the same goes as to not getting too excited when a player bursts onto the scene with an outstanding debut season. Right-handed pitcher Scott Burke was one of the bigger surprises in the 2017 draft class as he posted a phenomenal debut season. This year will be an interesting one to watch to see if he can continue the success in his first full-year.

Photo: Chuck Boemmel Jr.

Burke, 23, was selected in the 20th round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of UCLA by the O's. He kind of had a breakthrough year at the perfect time at UCLA by posting a 2.51 ERA his senior season after not having an ERA below 4.30 his first three years.

Whatever he found in his senior year, he not only continued it, but looked even better after being drafted.

Burke appeared in 14 games (five starts) for the Short-season Aberdeen Ironbirds and went 3-1 with a 1.35 ERA and a minuscule 0.70 WHIP over 40 innings pitched. In addition, he held opponents to a .162 batting average and struck out 43, while walking just six.

He was one of the biggest surprises out of the Orioles' 2017 draft class in terms of production in their debut season.

His fantastic performance is why I feel 2018 is an interesting one for Burke. It is in no way a "make-or-break" year for him, it's just his second season in the organization and will be his first full-year in professional baseball, but his performance could go a long way in determining his future.

I have little doubt that he is going to head to Delmarva to begin the year, but if he continues his performance from 2017 to start the year in 2018, he could find himself in Frederick pretty quick. Having totaled 83 innings of work between UCLA and Aberdeen in 2017, he could likely go about 120 innings this year if the Orioles want him to. That amount of innings would last him almost all season, especially if he being a reliever is his future.

At UCLA, he did not start one game his entire career, but he did make five starts for the Ironbirds and went four or more innings in each of those starts, including a six inning, one run performance in his last outing of the year.

Burke is going to be a guy I keep a close eye on in 2018. If whatever he figured out prior to 2017 is legit, he could become a guy O's fans get to hear a lot about.



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