JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Peyton Burdick knows the odds are long. Most minor league baseball players never come close to reaching the big leagues.
But Burdick, an outfielder for the Triple-A Jumbo Shrimp, is trying to close the gap and make the leap to the Miami Marlins this summer.
“We’re playing a game of failure, and you must welcome it and overcome it,” Burdick said. “If you want to succeed in this game, you must keep working and grinding. Know that better days are ahead of you if you do that.”
Burdick has overcome adversity in the past and is ready for the moment. While Burdick is hitting .229, he’s got eight homers, 31 RBI and an International League-leading 51 runs scored.
The Miami Marlins drafted Burdick in the third round of the 2019 MLB draft. After signing with the Marlins for a $397,500 bonus out of Wright State, he joined the Low-A Batavia Muckdogs for six games.
Over that stretch, Burdick went 7 for 22 with a triple, a home run and five RBIs. The Marlins had seen enough at the level and promoted him to the Middle-A Clinton LumberKings.
After some time with the LumberKings, the Batavia, Ohio native made his way to Double-A with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos and established himself as one of the best players during his time there.
Burdick made some noise throughout the league by belting 23 home runs to set a franchise record for the Blue Wahoos.
In his first season with the Jumbo Shrimp, he now awaits that call every minor league player wants to hear.
Getting to the top stage of the MLB has never been a doubt for Burdick, as he’s overcome adversity in the past.
Just like any other sport, injuries are a massive part of the game of baseball.
Burdick knows that well. He had Tommy John surgery and missed the 2017 season at Wright State.
He didn’t miss a beat, bouncing back to win the Horizon League tournament MVP honors in 2018 and player of the year accolades in 2019 after hitting 15 homers and stealing 24 bases.
Just like overcoming big injuries, Burdick must overcome the adversity he faces in the minor league by pushing through the workload.
He said the jump from Pensacola in Double-A to Jacksonville in Triple-A made him a better defensive player.
“I’ve taken much more pride in my defense,” Burdick said. “Had to work on my defense so I can be the most polished version of myself that I can be.”
As any ball player knows, the journey from the minors to the big leagues isn’t always a joyful adventure, if it happens at all.
For Burdick, his time in the minors has been a test to improve his overall game.
“In the game of baseball, you always have to make adjustments to your personal game,” Burdick said. “Once you have everything figured out, the game seems to flip on you. You must make daily adjustments to be the most complete player.”
According to More Than Baseball’s recent report, only 10% of minor league baseball players will ever make it to MLB.
That’s a difficult stat for young minor league players to digest, but Burdick said you have to take the process day by day.
“You can’t leave where your feet are. You need to stay grounded to what you’re doing,” he said. “Just have to go out and make sure you’re getting better every day.”
Prior to the season, Burdick was invited to the Marlins spring training in March.
He said the experience was an excellent tool for elevating his game.
“I loved to pick the brains with some of the older guys like Garrett Cooper and Miguel Rosas,” Burdick said. “The guys give great insight into routines and what your body needs to succeed.”
One of Burdick’s biggest takeaways since arriving at the minor leagues is his body’s growth in the league.
When Burdick arrived at Wright State in 2016, he weighed 188 pounds. By his redshirt junior year, he was sitting at 210.
Burdick said he’s comfortable now at 205, but his body nutrition has been one of his primary targets.
“You have to know what your body takes. You play 160 plus games along with postseason, and it’ll take a toll on your body,” Burdick said. “You have to make sure your body is right and ready to go each and every day.”
He had gotten his body into excellent condition, and it reflects on the stat sheet.
Burdick currently leads the league in runs scored with 51.
He said he takes pride in being able to score and help his team, no matter the situation.
“I’m always looking for ways to score and get 90 feet,” Burdick said. “You have to get 90 feet four times to score, so it’s about being in a good position for my teammates to bring me in.”
The definition of a team-first player, Burdick, typically played left field in Class-A and Double-A but has been moved to center and right in Jacksonville.
If Burdick’s call to the big leagues comes soon, he’ll be ready.
“Wherever I can help the team win, that’s where I’ll play,” Burdick said. “Any spot I can be in the lineup and help the team win is the best place to be.”