Michael Burrows: From Lancer to Pirate


Lexie Hullivan, Reporter

It’s halfway through the year and many seniors are starting to commit to colleges, juniors are starting to think seriously about their futures, and sophomores are starting to worry about how each choice they make will affect their ability to achieve their life goals. Although it’s easy to feel concerned about how coming from a small town like Waterford could ever lead you to big success, Michael Burrows is proof that with hard work comes great results.

Michael Burrows, who graduated from Waterford High School in 2018, is a minor-league baseball player who was recently added to the 40-man roster. Burrows originally planned on attending and pitching for UCONN before being drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates right out of high school. He recalls the memories leading up to his draft, “I saw it coming before my senior season of baseball, I had scouts from teams in my living room all winter leading up to that season.” Although he was presented with an offer in round 4 of the drafts, his decision to decline it and wait for a higher offer paid off and shows Burrows’ belief and confidence in his skills: “I basically gave them an amount of money I was willing to give up college for and had a handful of teams willing to give me it.” Since he accepted his 11th-round offer from the Pirates, Burrows’s victories have continued.

Throughout his teenage years, Michael Burrows maximized his chances of having a great career past high school. Burrows’s family attributes his post-high school success to his aversion to parties, despite it being popular among other teens. Even with the peer pressure that some followed, Burrows was determined to never touch anything that could damage his athletic ability: “Life’s not about being comfortable. I never wanted to go to parties, that just wasn’t me.” Finding the balance between sports and a healthy social life can be difficult for students, including Burrows, but he assures that it is what every great athlete must do. “I still got to hang out with friends, but when it was time to travel for baseball in the summer, I had to say no because I saw the path I was on and where I wanted to be, and hanging out at the beach wasn’t getting me there.”

Burrows talked more specifically about the Waterford High School baseball team, and how the quality of the team will not necessarily set players up for the reality of the professional world, “It’s hard to get a high schooler prepared for professional baseball so it’s really seeking out the best competition you can. High school baseball alone just won’t have enough of it.” The main takeaway of Burrows’ experience is that high school can only take you so far, but if you want to make it in the big leagues, you have to find the drive to prepare yourself and “be willing to travel places to find that after those high school seasons.”  

Furthermore, Burrows is surrounded by support, such as ”family, coaches, and teammates I had previously from around the country, who also got drafted…People who had seen the process with me and understood it.” His family, including his mother Kristin Burrows, father Tom Burrows, and uncle Tim Burrows, never doubted Burrows’ potential. Burrows agrees, “I think most of the training happens in your household, parents teaching you to be independent and to make decisions on your own.” Although Burrows’ determination was all his own, his family certainly helped him strengthen his skills and allow him to take every opportunity that presented itself. Burrows and fellow Waterford native Nolan Long have also supported one another in their baseball careers. The minor league Dodgers player frequently practices with Burrows since his draft. Waterford High School producing two alumni who are both making strides as professional athletes shows the strength of its baseball program. As for those who have doubted Burrows along the way, Burrows chooses to turn their criticisms into motivation: “Everyone always has something to say…I also considered that support because it gave me some extra fire to play with.”

This past summer, after being promoted to Triple-A with the Indianapolis Indians, Michael Burrows and his family traveled to the Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles for the All-Star Futures game. As the first Indianapolis player to be selected since 2019, what this honor means for the future of his career is not lost on Burrows. Approximately .05% of senior high school players will be even drafted by an MLB team to the minors, and Burrows knew what he was getting himself into, “I was going into a job that could chew you up and spit you out in a year or two.” Even with the odds against him, Burrows has overcome all hurdles. Having been promoted to Triple-A, holding a career earned run average (ERA) of 3.36, and now being added to the list for the 40-man roster, it is not a wild idea that Burrows may get some playing time in Major Leagues in the 2023 season.

Burrows has taken several steps to achieve ultimate success, making his story proof that talent and dedication can lead to success for you as well. As far as advice for young, up-and-coming athletes, Burrows stresses to “never lose your integrity and hold yourself accountable for your actions. As amazing of a job it is, it also takes a great deal of mental strength that you have to learn by being thrown into the fire.”