If I had to describe A.J. Burnett to someone, without the benefit of being able to look at any stats, etc., I would say that “Once in an infrequent while, he’s dominant on the mound. Yet, more than a few times, he implodes during a game and is terrible. And, for the most part, he seems to always pitch just well enough to lose.”
Related, one year ago, I wrote this about Burnett:
Hey, this is what you get with A.J. Burnett. Sure, the walk-off pies are all the rage with the under thirty crowd. But, look at Burnett’s lifetime stats. On a 162-Game Average, he’s good for 34 starts and 218 innings pitched – but, with a win-loss mark of 14-12. Yes, he wins less than half his starts and loses just about as many games as he wins. Just look at last season, in a great Yankees team year, he made 33 starts, won 13 and lost 9 games.
And, today, I would update that to say: On a 162-Game Average, he’s good for 34 starts and 215 innings pitched – but, with a win-loss mark of 13-12.
I do give Burnett credit for taking a regular turn. He’s done that better than I thought he would when the Yankees signed him. But, watching him now for three years, I don’t see anything special about this guy. If he doesn’t have lights-out stuff on a given day, he doesn’t tough it out on the mound. And, more times than not, his lack of being able to throw strikes and/or his frequency of throwing wild pitches gets him into trouble.
Coming into today’s action, you could make a case that Burnett is no better than Brad Penny:
And, I don’t think anyone would say that Brad Penny is any great shakes.
Brian Cashman gave this guy a $82.5 million contract for five years. Yeah, I know, the Braves, reportedly, wanted to sign him too. But, that’s like saying “Sure, I soiled my underwear. But, there’s a bunch of guys in the nursing home who poop in their drawers too.” The fact that someone else either did something stupid, or was willing to, shouldn’t take you off the hook for your own asinine actions.
In any event, Yankeeland has two more years of A.J. after this season. That’s alotta “pitching just well enough to lose” games to come…