Peoria got another stellar outing from LHP Kyler Burke last night as he went 6 innings giving up 2 hits and allowing no earned runs. He recorded his first win of the season dropping his ERA to 2.31. The 25-year-old has enjoyed success thus far as a pitcher dating back to last year at Boise where he pitched out of the bullpen. He ended the season with a 2.86 ERA in 44 innings pitched including one save while striking out just over one batter per inning.
So what makes Kyler Burke so interesting? Well we need to get in the time machine and go back a few years to 2007 when Michael Barrett was on the wrong side of Carlos Zambrano’s fists. Shortly after that memorable June day the Cubs traded Barrett to the Padres for two players. Most of us remember or are trying to forget that we received catcher Rob Bowen, but many don’t recall the centerpiece in the deal was a 19-year-old OF who was drafted 35th overall in just the previous years draft. That player was Kyler Burke and the Cubs were very happy to acquire the talented outfielder. Burke’s next few seasons were plagued by drastic inconsistency with the highlight coming in 2009 when he was named the Cubs Minor League Player of the Year. He hit .303 with 15 HR, and 89 RBI’s in Peoria. The next year however was when things took a turn for the worse, while in Daytona Burke hit only .212 with 131 strikeouts in 135 games. The following March the Cubs and Burke, who had pitched in high school, decided it was time for a change and with that Kyler Burke began his new career as a pitcher.
The Cubs have to be happy with his progress thus far, as he is doing quite well in only his second year as a pitcher. Burke recently has moved from the pen to the starting rotation for Peoria with pretty good results. Where will Kyler Burke go from here we don’t know, but with a premium on quality left-handed arms out of the bullpen it is hard to think he won’t make it to the show as a big league pitcher sometime down the road. As long as it seems Kyler Burke’s story has been, it really has just begun. The best of luck to him on his continued development and we hope to see him at Wrigley somtime in the future.
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