Chicago White Sox: This pitcher came up and surprised in 2021

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

On the list of players to keep an eye on for the 2022 Chicago White Sox will be pitcher Ryan Burr. Despite yo-yo-ing between the parent club and the minors last year, Burr produced when called upon and could be a guy that finds himself helping the pitching staff next season.

After experiencing some shoulder soreness in March, which contributed to him starting the season with Triple-A Charlotte, Burr was able to make his 2021 debut against Cleveland on May 31st. He went an inning and a third giving up no runs or hits while striking out two. That led to another relief appearance the following night where he tossed another scoreless inning and struck out one of the three hitters he faced.

Those two games ended up being an omen of things to come as Burr showed he could be the type of guy who can be relied upon to get an important out or produce a hold in relief. Burr didn’t give up a hit until his fifth appearance (a 5.1 inning streak) and didn’t allow a run until July 5th when he gave up a pair against Minnesota. His scoreless streak to that point covered an impressive 14 innings.

However, the success Burr was having came to a halt in a three-game stretch from July 20th to the 28th where he was tagged for six runs in two innings. Two days later, he was sent back down to Charlotte to make way for Ryan Tepera who the Sox acquired in a trade with the Cubs. Prior to being sent down, Burr recorded a 2.95 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 19 relief appearances.

The Chicago White Sox may need Ryan Burr to come up clutch for them next year.

Following a return to Chicago in mid-August, Burr looked like he did before going back to Charlotte. Burr made 15 appearances from August 17 (he did get sent back to Charlotte in late August and was recalled in early September) until the end of the regular season and gave up just three runs in 15.1 innings. He finished the season compiling 36.2 innings of work in 34 appearances with an ERA of 2.45, a 2-1 record, and 33 strikeouts.

An area of concern for Burr comes in the number of free passes he gave up. He issued 21 walks this season, 15 of which came against left-handed hitters. He had a 3.17 SO/BB ratio against right-handers but that dropped to .93 against lefties.

Burr posted better batting average against numbers on the road than he did at home. Batters managed to hit a mere .200 against him in visitors’ ballparks in 22 games but bumped that to .260 in 12 games at Guaranteed Rate Field. Despite that, he was 2-0 at home with a 1.26 ERA but was 0-1 on the road with a 3.22 ERA.

It will be interesting to see what becomes of the pitching staff next year. Like Tepera, Carlos Rodon is a free agent, and if both move on to other teams, manager Tony LaRussa will be looking to fill those spots.

Michael Kopech likely will be moving into a starter’s role which leaves an opening in the bullpen.  Garrett Crochet could find himself will a larger relief role (and occasional spot starts) which might create an opportunity for Burr to build upon what he did last year and make the Opening Day roster.

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