BRIAN BURRES
LEFT HANDED PITCHER
Born: April 8, 1981
Height: 6′ 1″
Weight: 165
Bats: Left
Throws: Left
Drafted: 31st Round, 931st Overall, 2000
How Acquired: Minor League FA
College: Mount Hood CC
Agent: N/A

WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES

Burres is a classic example of being in the right place at the right time, as he’s gotten opportunities from being with teams in desperate need of bodies for their rotations.  He’s a finesse lefty, with the standard four pitches, including a fastball that averages about 88.  Judging by the pitch values at fangraphs.com, none of his pitches seems to be especially effective.  He appeared to have settled in as an organizational pitcher with Giants.  After joining the Orioles, though, he kept getting major league opportunities due to their woeful pitching, despite the fact that he pitched very poorly for them.  He hasn’t had a platoon split in the majors, with both LH and RH batters posting OPS figures over .800 against him, so he’s not useful as a LOOGY.  In fact, he’s been worse as a reliever in the majors.  He has an ERA of 5.49 in 56 career starts, but 6.89 in 50 career relief appearances.

2001
A-:  3-1-1, 3.10 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 40.2 IP, 2.4 BB/9, 8.4 K/9

Pitched well in short season debut, with good walk and K rates.

2002
A:  5-10-1, 4.75 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 119.1 IP, 4.0 BB/9, 9.0 K/9

Burres wasn’t as effective as a swing man in low A.  He had a good K rate, but he walked a lot more and had trouble with longballs, allowing 15.

2003
A+:  3-3-1, 3.86 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 60.2 IP, 5.3 BB/9, 9.5 K/9

In high A, Burres had a similar season pitching entirely in relief.  He didn’t have as much trouble with HRs, but his walk rate got worse.

2004
A+:  12-1-0, 2.84 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, 123.2 IP, 2.2 BB/9, 8.3 K/9

Returned to high A and had an outstanding season as a swing man, greatly reducing his walk rate and maintaining a good K rate.

2005
AA:  9-6-0, 4.20 ERA, 1.45 WHIP, 128.2 IP, 4.0 BB/9, 7.3 K/9

In AA, Burres started all year.  He wasn’t as effective as at lower levels, allowing more baserunners and still walking too many.

2006
AAA:  10-6-0, 3.76 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 139 IP, 3.7 BB/9, 7.1 K/9
MLB:  0-0-0, 2.25 ERA, 0.88 WHIP 8 IP, 1.1 BB/9, 6.8 K/9

After the Orioles acquired him off waivers, Burres pitched well for them in AAA, lowering his walk rate a little.  They called him up in September and he appeared in 11 games in relief.

2007
AAA:  1-0-0, 2.25 ERA, 0.75 WHIP, 4 IP, 2.2 BB/9, 11.2 K/9
MLB:  6-8-0, 5.95 ERA, 1.70 WHIP, 121 IP, 4.9 BB/9, 7.1 K/9

The Orioles called Burres up early in the season and put him in their rotation in May.  He pitched well at first, but struggled increasingly as the season went along.  He eventually went back to pitching in relief.  Overall, he got hit hard and allowed a lot of walks.

2008
AAA:  1-0-0, 0.82 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 11 IP, 0.8 BB/9, 9.8 K/9
MLB:  7-10-0, 6.04 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, 129.2 IP, 3.5 BB/9, 4.4 K/9

Burres again spent most of the season with the Orioles, most of that time in their rotation.  He cut his walk rate, but his K rate also dropped sharply and he got hit harder.  Gopher balls became more of a problem, as he allowed 17.

2009
AAA:  6-7-0, 4.76 ERA, 1.40 WHIP, 107.2 IP, 2.5 BB/9, 7.0 K/9
MLB:  0-2-0, 14.21 ERA, 2.68 WHIP, 6.1 IP, 7.1 BB/9, 5.7 K/9

Toronto acquired Burres off waivers and he spent most of the year in their AAA rotation.  He pitched just adequately there, as opponents hit .281 against him.  He started two games in the majors and got hammered in both.

2010
AAA:  5-4-0, 4.50 ERA, 1.33 ERA, 82 IP, 3.7 BB/9, 6.7 K/9
MLB:  4-5-0, 4.99 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 79.1 IP, 3.9 BB/9, 5.1 K/9

Burres found himself in the right place at the right time again after signing a minor league deal with the Pirates.  He pitched poorly in spring training, walking seven in just 3.2 IP.  The team sent him to Indianapolis to join the rotation, but he got called up before starting a game there because Ross Ohlendorf went on DL.  As the Pirates’ rotation quickly collapsed into rubble, Burres found himself staying in the majors, making seven starts and three relief appearances through the end of May.  He spent most of the summer in AAA, where he pitched just OK, although his peripherals were better than his ERA.  He returned in late August as a reliever, but spent most of September in the rotation as Ohlendorf and Jeff Karstens went out with injuries.  He was surprisingly effective at times, leading some fans to think he deserved a shot at the rotation in 2011.  He threw twelve and a third scoreless innings in his first two starts and posted a 3.24 ERA in six September starts, but performances against September lineups aren’t good indicators.  His numbers suffered mainly from his relief appearances, in which he had an 8.44 ERA and 2.06 WHIP.  In his starts, his ERA was 4.46.  His WHIP was still 1.44 as starter, which isn’t good, and his walk and K rates were weak, so his ERA isn’t a good indicator of how he’d pitch long term.

2011
AAA:  5-9-0, 4.66 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 129.1 IP, 3.1 BB/9, 6.6 K/9
MLB:  1-0-0, 3.86 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 14 IP, 2.6 BB/9, 6.4 K/9

Burres returned to the Pirates to fill the role of AAA rotation depth.  He pitched for Indianapolis, mainly as a starter, throughout the AAA season and performed at the same overall level he had in AAA in 2009-10.  He had more trouble with HRs, though, allowing 18.  The Pirates called him up in September because they needed bodies to pitch.  He started two games at the beginning of the month, pitching very well against the Dodgers and getting knocked out early by the light-hitting Astros.  He pitched three times in mopup relief roles later in the month.

The Pirates removed Burres from the 40-man roster after the season.  They outrighted him to AAA, but he can opt for free agency.  He’s best suited for exactly the role he played in 2011.  He has no upside, but he can provide a reasonable number of non-disastrous innings.  The Pirates might want to bring him back in that role in 2012, but he might prefer to move on.

STATS
Baseball Reference–Majors
Baseball Reference–Minors
Fangraphs
MLB.com
MiLB.com
CONTRACT INFORMATION
2011: $600,000 in majors (minor league contract)

  • Can sign with an Asian team for $50,000 before Opening Day, or for $100,000 during the regular season.

2010: $550,000 in majors (minor league contract)
2009: $410,000
2008: $395,000
2007: $380,000

PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: N/A
MiLB Debut: 2001
MLB Debut: 9/8/2006
MiLB FA Eligible: Eligible
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: N/A
Options Remaining: 0 (USED: 2005, 2008, 2010)
MLB Service Time: 2.109
TRANSACTIONS
June 5, 2000: Drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 31st round, 931st overall pick; signed as a draft-and-follow on May 26, 2001.
November 19, 2004: Contract purchased by the San Francisco Giants.
January 6, 2006: Selected off of waivers by the Baltimore Orioles from the San Francisco Giants.
February 4, 2009: Selected off of waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays from the Baltimore Orioles.
January 4, 2010: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league free agent.
April 12, 2010: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
December 2, 2010: Non-tendered by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
January 3, 2011: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league free agent.
September 1, 2011:  Added to 40-man roster and called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
October 31, 2011: Outrighted to AAA by the Pittsburgh Pirates.