By Conner Farrell —

With this week’s edition of Cards in the Pros, we look at former Cardinals who recently debuted in Major League Baseball.

Out of 34 Louisville alumni who were under contract with MLB organizations in 2018, two made their first professional appearances in the fall: Pitchers Nick Burdi and Josh Rogers.

Burdi, who made two relief appearances with the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 2018 season, donned the Cardinals red and black from 2012-14. The right-hander, two-time All-American finished his junior year with a school record 18 saves. He was selected 46th overall in the second round of the 2014 MLB draft.

“You have guys like Adam Duvall or Chad Green (former Cardinals), guys on the cusp of being big-time Major League Baseball players,” Burdi said. “Then you have guys like myself and Josh (Rogers) who are trying to get to their level. There’s that aspiration for everyone.”

Much like during his Louisville career, Burdi was used as a closer for the Pirates. Although recording little over an inning pitched for his first season, Burdi is primed for larger role in the Pittsburgh organization as time progresses.

Rogers started three games with the Baltimore Orioles in the 2018 season. He played at U of L from 2014-15 and finished his career with a 11-4 overall record, including an 8-1 record in his final season as a Cardinal.

Rogers was selected by the New York Yankees in the 2015 draft, then later traded to the Baltimore Orioles in 2018. After working his way through the minors, Rogers made his first MLB start this past August. The lefty appeared in 11.2 innings over the course of three starts and recorded six strikeouts.

“It was overwhelming,” Rogers said about his debut. “It was something I worked for my whole life. To be able to put on that uniform and set it in the locker that day was a dream come true.”

With a history of success at the collegiate level, and their first taste of professional baseball, it’s easy to expect Burdi and Rogers to continue growing in talent and experience.

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Photo by Matt Bradshaw / The Louisville Cardinal