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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Duggan: A.J. Burnett and The Amazing, Disappearing Fastball

~~There is nothing wrong with your strike zone. Do not attempt to adjust the pitcher~~

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For a power pitcher, who relies almost exclusively on a fastball and a breaking ball, it may surprise you (or it may not) that A.J. Burnett’s fastball was the least valuable pitch in baseball in 2011, coming in at -34.0 runs.  It’s tough to contextualize that, so for the sake of comparison, Mariano Rivera’s cutter was +12.2 runs, David Robertson’s fastball was +14.4 runs, and CC Sabathia’s slider was +14.6 runs.

It’s a shockingly bad number, and it’s headed in the wrong direction.  In his seven pre-Yankee years, Burnett had accumulated +39.3 runs of value with his fastball, with -14.1, -16.2, and -34.0 the past three seasons.  It has gone from a weapon to a piped home run waiting to happen.

...Mostly as a product of his curveball, Burnett still has a way to get strikeouts and ground balls.  While having 95 MPH heat was a great way to keep batters from squaring him up, that velocity and late life is gone and probably isn’t coming back, making it tough to imagine how Burnett can recover any effectiveness without some fundamental changes to his approach.  It can be done, but he has his work cut out for him.

Repoz Posted: November 26, 2011 at 11:17 PM | 1 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: history, projections, reviews, sabermetrics, yankees

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   1. Tripon Posted: November 27, 2011 at 02:00 AM (#4001422)
So by smoking the objective pipe, we can see that A.J. Burnett is a horrible pitcher.

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