In his second season pro, Peyton Burdick has made it to the top of the minor league ranks. On September 21st, it was announced the 24-year-old outfielder was selected from the Marlins’ Double-A affiliate, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, to head east on I-10 to join the Triple-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp. This season in Double-A, Burdick made waves by knocking out a total of 23 home runs setting a franchise record for the Blue Wahoos. While in Pensacola, Burdick slashed .231/.376/.472. At first glance he may appear to hold an average line, but his game reveals flashes of greatness– flashed present even in his budding Triple-A career.
As a Blue Wahoo, Burdick made up part of an outfield brigade consisting of JJ Bleday, Griffin Conine, and Kameron Misner. Each of those names garnered plenty of media attention between the MLB Draft and prospect reporting of the past couple years. However, over the course of the 2021 Minor League season Bleday has cooled down offensively (.212/.323/.373). Meanwhile, Misner and Conine have spent this season getting reps in Double-A since both advanced this midseason from High-A Beloit.
So what is it that makes Burdick standout? In a recent interview conducted by Fish Stripes, Baseball America editor-in-chief JJ Cooper provided some insights on the up-and-coming outfielder. Cooper candidly admitted to being “a fan” of Burdick since he was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Marlins. He continued by commenting, “he’s most confident in Burdick[‘s]” development as a more well-rounded player. There is much to be impressed by with the 24-year old outfielder. His athletic build and composure in play provide him the traits of a quintessential ball player.
Burdick has at least one naysayer. In a September 28 article published by the Miami Herald, Barry Jackson interviewed an anonymous baseball scout who offered some dubious observations on various Marlins’ prospects. The assertions made by the veteran scout were glib and curt. In regards to Burdick’s performance, the comments pointed mostly at the outfielder’s strikeout rate (currently averaging around ~30%K) and base running awareness. What should be considered is the source from which these impressions came— exclusively from Double-A games in Pensacola. A week prior to Jackson’s report, another article in the Herald by Jordan McPherson offered a more pragmatic analysis of the Marlins’ prospects throughout the 2021 Minor League season. McPherson noted how Burdick struggled early in the season “with his batting average dipping to .077 in the first two weeks.” Despite the initial slump Burdick was able to turn it around to .249 by the time of his advance to Triple-A.
On September 21, Burdick made his Triple-A debut for Jacksonville against the Memphis Redbirds. In his first at bat of his first game, a strikeout swinging; his second at bat, a walk that allowed him to come in and earn a run. He had to ardently wait until his second game to earn his first Triple-A hit— a double to the wall in right-center field. Burdick played eight games splitting his time between left and center field. Overall in his cup of coffee at the AAA level, he went 4-28 with three of those hits being doubles. The 6′ outfielder appeared poised ready to field every ball that came his way and attentive in every at bat (though always swinging for power).
Burdick may have his doubter(s), but it will be easy for him to block them out with all of the bling he took home on Sunday afternoon at loanDepot park. The .257/.382/.490, 130 wRC+ hitter who led the organization in walks and set a Blue Wahoos’ franchise record in homers with 23, was named both the Double-A MVP and Minor League Player of the Year, an award previously won by the likes of JT Realmuto, Brian Anderson and others.
According to Marlins’ general manager Kim Ng, the plan is for Burdick to begin 2022 back in Jacksonville. If he continues to develop his tools and persevere as well as he did while playing Double-A with Pensacola, a bright future awaits for him on the horizon, possibly as soon as late next season.