Zack Burdi's Injury Is A Reminder Of The Importance Of Quantity In A Rebuild
On Friday the White Sox announced that one of their 2016 first-round picks, Zack Burdi, has a UCL tear and is likely going to need Tommy John Surgery.
This sucks for plenty of reasons.
First of all, Burdi -- the No. 10 prospect in the Sox system -- is not only going to miss the rest of this season, but there's a good chance he'll miss 2018 as well. Coming off Tommy John, there won't be any reason for the Sox to try and rush him back for a couple of weeks of minor league ball.
That means the next time we see Burdi on a pitching mound could be spring of 2019.
This is a big blow for Burdi's development, as well as the team's plans for him. Let's not forget that while the team was still deluding itself into believing it was a contender last year there was talk of bringing Burdi up to help out the bullpen last season, just months after being drafted.
The reason for this was because Burdi has big stuff, and a lot of velocity to go with it. He routinely hits triple-digits on his fastball, and that's helped him rack up a K/9 of 12.9 in 71.1 minor league innings. Still, as much as this blows for Burdi and the Sox, there's another important thing to take from all this.
Burdi's injury just shows why it's not only important to acquire young talent in a rebuild, but a lot of it. If everything in the White Sox rebuild went according to plan without any setbacks, ideally we're looking at a team ready to compete for a division title in 2019. Well, things rarely go according to plan in a rebuild.
There are always setbacks. There are the players that will never live up to their seemingly limitless potential, and there are those who will go down with injuries.
The way the White Sox have gone about things, we're also seeing why it was important to not only get promising arms but a lot of them. There is no commodity in baseball as fickle as the throwing arm. They blow up, lose velocity and are just generally unpredictable.
So it's important that in a worst-case scenario -- and I'm not saying that's the case with Burdi because TJS is not the death sentence it used to be for pitchers, it's basically like having an appendix removed at this point, just with a much longer rehabilitation -- there are other options available.
It's all about alleviating the risks as best as possible in a hazardous situation.
While I believe Burdi will recover from this -- though there's no guarantee he's still throwing 100 when he does -- the White Sox have done enough in the first eight months of their rebuild to be able to withstand this kind of loss.
That's all you can ask them to do.