Louisville junior reliever Zack Burdi expected to be a first-round draft pick; says he has 'no real expectations' about where he'll end up

University of Louisville junior reliever Zack Burdi is expected to be a first-round draft pick in tomorrow's MLB Draft. Burdi says he has 'no real expectations' about where he'll end up once the draft gets started.

Zack Burdi draws a lot of attention for his 100-mile per hour fastballs.

But it's his complete arsenal of pitchers that has him projected as a first-round draft pick when the Major League Baseball June Amateur Draft begins Thursday night on the Major League Baseball Network.

Burdi is considered one of the top pitchers in the draft and has been projected as high as No. 9.

The 6-foot-3, 205-pound Burdi said he doesn't have a clue where he'll be picked but called it a "very cool" moment when he'll be able to hear his name called in the MLB Draft.

"Whatever happens happens," he said. "I'm very happy, my family's happy and it's going to be a very cool moment.

"There's not really any expectations. I'm not expecting a team to take me in any spot because they have their jobs to do, and they could say I'm No. 3 on their board, but one guy gets drafted and their entire draft board flips."

Burdi is expected to watch the first round with his teammates and some family as the Cardinals are preparing to play in the NCAA Super Regional against UC Santa Barbara that begins on Saturday at Jim Patterson Stadium.

ESPN analyst Chris Burke said last weekend that Burdi is a guy he could see "in a major league bullpen" by the end of the season and U of L coach Dan McDonnell echoed those sentiments on Wednesday.

"He's got three or four pitches that he can thrown," McDonnell said. "Not many closers have that. Usually, they are one or two-pitch guys. . . . I think Zach has a great opportunity to up this summer as a bullpen guy."

Burdi only smiled when told about the comments of his coach, calling it "an awesome statement."

"I'm really blessed and thankful to have that opportunity if it does come. But for me the next two weeks or for the next five days I am here in Louisville and ready to do whatever I need to do to get to Omaha."

A former commitment to Iowa, Burdi changed his mind and signed with Louisville. His older brother, Nick, was a closer at Louisville when he signed with the Cardinals and was a senior when Zack was a freshman.

As the 'other Burdi' his freshman season, Zack struggled a bit. He only appeared in 13 games and had a 4.35 ERA in his 10.1 innings. But he had a sensational offseason and came in last spring as the Cardinals' main closer.

Burdi, like his brother, hit the 100-mph mark several times as a sophomore and finished with a 0.92 ERA and 30 strikeouts with nine saves and a 6-1 record in 29.1 innings on the season.

"He's such a hard worker," McDonnell said. "He just keeps getting better and better every time he goes out there."

The native of Downers Grove, Ill., has been lights-out in the latter part of this season. He has 11 saves and a 2.20 earned-run average and has struck out 46 in 28.2 innings this season.

"I struggled a bit as a freshman, it was so different," Burdi said. "To grow from that  and have a good last two years and see it all pay off should be a really special moment for me and also for my family."

Burdi said the draft hype hasn't been too much of a bother to him. He has several other teammates dealing with it and he watched his brother, Nick, also deal with it in 2014. Nick Burdi was a second-round draft pick by the Minnesota Twins and is currently in Double-A on the disabled list.

"You can think about it as much as you want, but at the end of the day I have a job on the field to do," the younger Burdi said. "It's awesome (to be projected as a first round) and I think it will be a really special moment."

Louisville senior pitcher Kyle Funkhouser is the highest draft pick in school history. He was drafted as the No. 32 pick of the first round last year by the Los Angeles Dodgers before opting to return for his senior season.

U of L has had 18 players selected in the draft in the past three years.

Cardinal Authority Top Stories