The Misadventures of AJ Burnett

In June of this year, AJ Burnett had a 2.19 K/BB rate and opponents were hitting a paltry .209 against him.  Actually, his entire first half of the season was pretty good.  He entered the All-Star break at 8-4 with a 3.77 ERA, 101 strikeouts and 53 walks.  Since then, the Bronx’s favorite pie distributor is 3-5 with a 5.11 ERA, 66 strikeouts and 34 walks.  He was caught wondering aloud why Jorge Posada would call for a certain pitch as that pitch was landing in the bleachers.

Burnett hasn’t been terrible and he’s been far from a disaster.  But he hasn’t been great either.  At this point in the season, Andy Pettitte is a better pitcher and should be the #2 guy in October.  I doubt he will be, as Burnett will likely get the ball in game two of the division series.  The problem with that is that the Angels, Red Sox, and Tigers (our prospective playoff opponents) are hitting .320, .291, and .286 against Burnett this season.  Uh-oh.

Burnett’s problem is that he’s incredibly wild.  He has great “stuff” but has demonstrated little control over it this year.  He leads the league with 87 walks and 17 wild pitches.  The 17 wild pitches are already a career-high and he only needs to walk three more guys to match his career-high there, too.  Burnett probably isn’t going to be a control guy until he is forced to, when he loses some velocity on his fastball – this is the guy that threw a no-hitter while walking nine guys, after all – but he needs to demonstrate improved control and gain some momentum heading into the postseason.  Tonight’s start against the Mariners and Felix Hernandez would be a good start.

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One Response to “The Misadventures of AJ Burnett”

  1. Baseballbriefs.com Says:

    Baseballbriefs.com tracking back The Misadventures of AJ Burnett…

    Baseballbriefs.com tracking back The Misadventures of AJ Burnett…

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