Entering the 2013 season, Hiram Burgos had become a hot prospect for the Brewers. He had been named the Brewers' minor league pitcher of the year in 2012, and followed that up with a stellar performance in the World Baseball Classic for Puerto Rico, ending with a championship for his home country. Considering how well he was pitching, it was only a matter of time before the right opportunity came up and he would be called to Milwaukee.
That time came a few weeks into the 2013 season. With Mike Fiers struggling through three appearances and Chris Narveson on the DL with a finger injury, the Brewers needed a fifth starter. With Burgos scheduled to start that day in Nashville, the Brewers decided to call him up to Milwaukee to make the start. On May 20, Burgos made his MLB debut for the Brewers against the Cubs.
The first three starts for Burgos went well. In his MLB debut, he pitched five innings, allowing five hits and a run with one strikeout. It was good enough to earn his first MLB win. He would follow that up with two quality starts, but it went downhill after that. In a start against the Reds on May 11, he had a bad start but had to absorb some innings, and ended up giving up 12 runs (10 earned) in three innings. His ERA shot up from 3.00 to 6.86 as a result. His next two starts weren't much better, and in the second, it took him 86 pitches to get through 3 1/3 innings.
Following that start, Burgos ended up on the disabled list with a right shoulder impingement on May 24. After a few weeks, he began a rehab assignment. He was activated from the DL on June 28, but was optioned right to Nashville. Burgos made two more starts for Nashville after coming off the DL, but went back on the DL in Nashville with another injury and was shut down for the season.
It's hard to say how well Burgos did in his first season because of how short it was. The first three starts show a lot of promise for him, as he put up an ERA of 3.00 over those starts and had two quality starts there, but also posted a FIP of 4.65 in those three starts. In the last three starts, his ERA was 11.91 and FIP was 6.10. With small sample sizes and an injury, there's a lot of uncertainty here, but also enough promise to stay positive about his chances in 2014.
Currently, Burgos is pitching in the Caribbean League for fall baseball in preparation for next season. He will most likely end up in Nashville to start the 2014 season. Since he was added to the 40-man roster following the 2012 season, he will have two options left. Burgos will need to work hard to get back to where he was before the injury, but if he does, he could work himself into the Brewers rotation plans sometime in 2014.
Hiram Burgos only made six starts for the Brewers, but one of them does stand out above the rest. On May 1, he made his third start of the season, this time against the Pirates at home. He ended up having his longest start of the season, pitching seven solid innings with 101 pitches. He only allowed four hits and a walk, though two of those hits were solo home runs. He also had six strikeouts for the day and left with a 3-2 lead, but would end up with a no-decision after the Brewers gave up the lead.
Here are some highlights from that start:
HIram Burgos didn't accumulate even a half season of service time in 2013. If he made the 25-man roster to start the 2014 season and remained on the roster from then on, he would be arbitration-eligible following the 2016 season and a free agent after 2019.
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