Friday, December 19, 2008

Has Burnett Really Changed?

One thing we heard A.J. Burnett say over and over again in his press conference yesterday was how he had become a pitcher last year and not a thrower. He explained his sudden ability to stay healthy with not relying on trying to throw a 100 mph fastball every pitch, trusting his curve more, and focusing more on control.

A lot of times when players have career years like this they try and explain their performance with nonsensical statements that end up not being true. This caught my attention though, partially because I`m still trying to rationalize this signing. Unfortunately, this seems to be more of a myth than fact.

He did throw his curve more than usual and his fastball less than usual in 2008 but its not a big enough difference to really matter. His FB velocity did decrease but by more than you would expect from a player entering his 30's. His BB/9 rate wasn't that different from the previous year and was actually higher than some other years as well. I don't see much evidence of this sudden change Burnett claims to have made last year. Maybe I`m missing something but I don't really think Burnett is over the injury hump at all.


Rob Abruzzese said...

Who knows? You're probably right though. This is probably just him saying something to try to explain the good year.

Let's just hope that it is a sign that the injuries are a thing of the past.

Mike NYY said...

It could be an intangible thing but I don't see it. Remember when Small and Chacon were trying to explain their sudden success.

Nate said...

I don't think its fair to compare AJ Burnett to Small and Chacon. Burnett has ace-level stuff, and for his whole career we've been waiting for that to translate into results. I'm not saying he turned a corner last year, but Small and Chacon are more or less replacement level guys.

Mike NYY said...

I meant that more in the way of a player claiming he`s turned a corner rather than just having a good year out of the blue. Its probably not the best analogy though.

Theirs been guys like David Ortiz who suddenly turn a corner and never look back but their are many more like Chacon and Small.