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At times, we all participate in something that causes us to (1) realize that life has no greater purpose, and (2) accept that our tolerance for pain is much greater than we previously ever imagined. Welcome to the Tale of the Tape, Dynasty Edition, for relievers. We’re placing Nick Burdi alongside Derek Law and trying to determine a winner.

Spoiler Alert: There are no winners in life. We’re all relief prospects at heart—people who flash sporadic greatness, but lack either the luck or the consistency to make it big. A precious few reach their full potential, teasing us with a glimpse of the promised land. The delusion is thinking that the closer’s role is the promised land, though, isn’t it?

Grab your copy of Milton’s Paradise Lost. Clutch it close to your heart, and let’s embark on this journey together.

Earned Run Average

Predicting a relief pitcher’s run prevention is difficult enough when dealing with major-league relievers, much less minor-league relievers. Derek Law has posted an earned run average over 3.00 just once in his career. Nick Burdi is projected to be a potential closer, who didn’t give up a single run in High-A after surrendering a few in his first 13 games as a pro. Burdi and Law both have back-end potential in the ‘pen. I promise to choose a winner in other categories, but if y’all believe you can make this call, more power to you.

Winner: Draw/Neither/Both

WHIP

This ultimately boils down to walk rate and opponent’s batting average. Neither pitcher has particularly stellar command; however, Burdi seems to have the potential for a better walk rate in the future. Law’s mechanics suggest league-average command isn’t likely. Burdi also has more overpowering stuff. He held hitters to under a .200 batting average last year. It’s A-ball, but we don’t exactly have much more with which to work. Slight edge to the Twins hurler.

Winner: Nick Burdi

Strikeouts

Derek Law sits in the mid-90s. Nick Burdi sits upper-90s. Law has only once eclipsed a 40 percent strikeout rate when he threw more than 20 innings at a single stop, while Burdi struck out 48.2 percent of batters in Low-A and 42.9 percent in High-A. The sample size isn’t big, but when Burdi has such a blistering start to his pro career and has the raw stuff to back it up, he seems to be the logical choice. One could make an argument that Law has stuff plus deception; however, it hasn’t led to the same level of strikeouts as Burdi showed late last year.

Winner: Nick Burdi

Saves

This isn’t a fair category whatsoever. Even if one believes a particular reliever has a better chance to close than the other, too many unknowns make any projection impossible. I’m going to place both names in a hat. Choose one. Oops sorry, you accidentally grabbed both slips of paper. That means they both win.

Winner: Draw

Injury Risk

Derek Law underwent Tommy John surgery last year. Nick Burdi hasn’t pitched long enough for his own TJ surgery.

Winner: Nick Burdi

Estimated Time to Impact

Burdi has yet to reach Double-A. While he’s rushing to the big leagues, he doesn’t have a clear path to the closer’s role. Glen Perkins signed a four-year extension to keep him in Minneapolis through the 2017 season. That doesn’t mean he’s entrenched as the closer for that long, but it’s certainly a detriment. The Giants, on the other hand, don’t have a high-end closer under contract for many years. Law also is on the cusp of the big leagues. The elbow surgery makes the timeframe murkier, but it won’t take much for him to reach the bigs once he returns to the mound. Once that happens, all bets are off.

Winner: Derek Law

Risk/Upside

Law has a higher risk profile, due to the injury, the unorthodox delivery, and the more significant command issues. Burdi should be a back-end option for the Twins. It’s just a matter of when he’ll legitimately threaten for saves. Furthermore, Burdi has better raw stuff, so I’d suggest his upside is higher. Seems easy enough, I guess.

Winner: Nick Burdi

Ballpark Factor

Target Field isn’t as much of a pitcher-friendly park as the narrative suggests. AT&T is a cemetery for fly balls. If Derek Law remains in San Francisco, he’s in the best-possible scenario for him to succeed.

Winner: Derek Law

Overall

Congratulations (I’m sorry), you made it this far. Nick Burdi “won” this bout. I haven’t quite worked out what the larger significance of that purported victory is yet. I’m just glad we got to this point together.

Winner: Nick Burdi (4-2-2)

Thank you for reading

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jrclark20
3/05
Gin Blossoms fan?
somerford
3/05
I pay for this? Really?
jimmyb1799
3/05
I hope you enjoy the next one more than you did this article, my friend.
Mercjobson
3/06
It cost u like 1 penny D-Bag
rweiler
3/05
Not sure how you get to Burdi having better command. Law walked 12 guys in 66 innings in 2013 at the same levels that Burdi walked 10 in 20 innings in 2014. Law did walk 14 in 28 in 2014 in AA, but then again given that he finished the year with tommy john surgery. You don't have to go out on much of a limb to conclude that stretched elbow ligaments might have affected his command. Given that there is no such thing as a pitching prospect, and both of these guys are relievers at that, it's against the odds that either one of them has much on a future impact in MLB.
Mercjobson
3/06
Hey J.P. Thanks. I just traded for the 2.12 pick in my 2 round rookie drft. So I have 1.11,2.11, and now 2.12. If the morons in my league take my guys I can fill back on Burdi. Just saw that yes he is in the yahoo system(forced list). I had heard about him months earlier, but had completely forgot who he even was because he's just a RP. Reminding me Burdi throws 103 with easy delivery was worth my 1 cent