Greg Burke has reinvented himself, ready for a chance with Mets

Formerly a conventional pitcher, 30-year-old RHP Greg Burke transitioned to a submarine pitcher in 2012 under former Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson.

The Mets signed Burke to a minor league contract this winter, and immediately placed him on the 40-man roster.

His only Major League season came in 2009 with the Padres when he was 3-3 with a 4.14 ERA in 48 relief appearances.

GregBurke1

Michael Baron, Contributor

He reminds me more of Chad Bradford, though his arm emerges from an even lower angle. He steps towards the right-handed hitter and appears to throw from behind him, which is very deceptive.

“I was a marginal right-hander, 90 miles per hour maybe. So, I decided to separated myself, and see if I could change something,” Burke told me last week in St. Lucie. “I went to Rick Peterson and I asked him to help me drop down. The next day, I threw a bullpen and live batting practice. The biggest thing was that I was able to maintain my velocity from the lower slot.”

In a way, Burke’s delivery is similar to Pedro Feliciano, but with the opposite hand. However, his delivery is faster and his arm slot is a little lower.

“I made the transition because I didn’t necessarily have much time left,” Burke continued. “Going into last year, I made the decision that if I don’t make the big leagues as of last year, I would be done. I was going to walk away. I figured changing the arm slot would get me to where I want to be as fast as possible.”

Burke said he was able to harness the fastball fairly quickly, but he had to reinvent his secondary pitch…

“For the most part, I was in the zone, but of course there were adjustments,” Burke said about finding his command. “I needed to open up my hips to catch that left side of the plate. I figured out my fastball fairly quickly, which allowed me to find success immediately. I wasn’t striking a lot of people out, but I was inducing weak contact. But the breaking ball took me a while. I threw a hard slider from up top, but I couldn’t throw it down low. So, I had to create a new pitch, and I didn’t get that until three months into last season.”


To see footage of Burke throwing in the bullpen in Port St. Lucie, watch this: