As a hard-throwing pitcher at Downers Grove South, Zack Burdi was already charting a career path towards professional baseball while he was still in high school.
A 2013 DGS graduate, Burdi took another step toward professional ball on June 9 when he was selected by the Chicago White Sox with the 26th pick in the 2016 MLB Draft.
"That was awesome," said Downers Grove South head coach Darren Orel, who coached Zack Burdi as well as older brothers Nick Burdi and Drew Burdi.
"It's nice to see Zack get the attention. I watched him pitch last week [on TV] and the guy on ESPN was calling him Nick Burdi."
Burdi is currently the closer for the University of Louisville. He picked up his 11th save of the season in the Cardinals' 3-1 win against Wright State in a NCAA regional championship game on June 5. Burdi and the Cardinals face UC Santa Barbara in an NCAA super regional starting June 11.
In addition to the 11 saves this season, Zack Burdi has a 2.20 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 28-2/3 innings of work. Last season he went 6-1 with nine saves, a 0.92 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 29-1/3 innings.
The normal progression for pitchers making the college to pro transition is to spend time in the minor before having the chance to move up to the majors, but Burdi might be able to buck that trend due to the White Sox recent bullpen struggles.
"That's the biggest thing about it, it might be a good thing for him," Orel said. "The White Sox might move him along a little quicker."
Zack Burdi joins a list of former Downers Grove South players who were recently selected in the MLB Draft. Nick Burdi (second round by the Twins in 2014), Phil Wunderlich (12th round by the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010) and Ryan Curry (21st round by the Florida Marlins in 2007) are DGS grads who were recently taken in the draft.
In addition to being a special moment for Zack Burdi, his selection in the draft can also be a boon for Downers Grove South.
"I definitely think it helps our program a ton," Orel said. "It impacts the kids. They talked about watching Zack and Brian Glowicki [2013 DGS grad playing at the University of Minnesota] on TV. They are aware of it and they watch it, so I definitely think it's big for them to see what could happen if they work hard."