The Mockingbird

Burnett Shows His Class

with 21 comments

The boos he was getting probably weren’t deserved after a good May and a 3 hit gem his last time out, but A.J. nicely alienated what few fans can see beyond the “he’s a .500 pitcher” garbage with this sarcastic hat tip after he was pulled in the fifth inning of today’s blowout against Baltimore.

Not that we didn’t know that A.J. had the maturity of a two year old Chihuahua, but I’m sure this will be fodder for call-in shows and articles for a couple of weeks (even though he later apologized)…anyway, what went wrong today? In his words:

“It started in the first inning with (Brian) Roberts,” said Burnett, who gave up a lead-off double to the Orioles second baseman to start the afternoon of misery. “I didn’t throw anything where I wanted to today, I was all over the place. When I did get ahead, I didn’t execute the curveball to get people out. I threw balls over the middle and they hit them the way they’re supposed to.”

In pitch f/x’s: Burnett was throwing gas- hitting 98 consistently for the first time this year. His Curveball was solid. The O’s just sat on his fastball because he wasn’t throwing a lot of close strikes, and when he did have to come in, left his heater above the belt too many times.

Things weren’t really that bad until the 5th (and he was coming off a 3-up-3-down 4th). After a curve right on the bottom of the strike zone, he didn’t get a fastball that should have been called a strike. It may have broken his brain, because A.J. went on to walk Huff, gave up a hit to Millar on a fastball out of the zone, and then allowed three hits on three straight fastballs, both doubles coming on pitches above the belt.

By the way, one of the reasons you often hear about why the Jays would not consider Burnett if they are out of the race at the deadline is that they will get two picks if he opts out of his contract and declares free agency. It’s still a pretty safe bet that some other team will be willing to pay him more than 11 million dollars (see: Silva, Carlos), but not at all a sure thing that he will be classified a type A. If he is a type B, the Jays just get a lousy supplemental round pick.

The Elias rankings look at the last two years and rank a pitcher based on Appearances, Innings pitched, Wins, Winning Percentage, Saves, ERA, WHIP, K’s and K/BB ratio. Last year A.J. was not a type A (6 spots short) but for next year’s ranking he gets to replace his injured 2006 season with this year. How do the two stack up? Well here’s what A.J. is on pace to do in comparison to the season he gets to forget:

Year Appearances IP W W% Saves ERA WHIP K’s K/BB
2006 21 135.2 10 .555 0 3.98 1.30 118 3.02
2008 Pace 33 206 13 .455 0 4.98 1.50 185 2.05

Four up, four down- both considerably. Of course it depends on how the rest of the pitchers in the AL perform, but offense is down overall in 2008. A.J. needs to pick up the pace and pitch a full season, or else Jays’ fans will really have something to boo about at the end of the year.

Written by halejon

June 7, 2008 at 6:15 pm

Posted in Seriousness

21 Responses

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  1. if those are the stats AJ finishes with, you think he’ll opt out?

    eyebleaf

    June 7, 2008 at 9:00 pm

  2. Wanna know what I don’t care about? A sarcastic AJ.

    Wanna know what I do care about? Him not taking a bat to a Gatorade bottle or punching a wall.

    At this point, he has to be healthy and lights out to opt out. If he’s class B then I doubt he goes. The rankings are released after the world series and that’s opt out time. I’m praying for that just for the picks. The draft is the future anyway… everyone seemed to forget about signability and actually picked talent. I guess they see a bad free agent market over the next few years.

    He had 2 quality starts before this. I hope he wins the Cy Young.

    Andrew

    June 7, 2008 at 9:34 pm

  3. eyebleaf: If he ends the season with the stats he has right now, that means he got injured or something (because he’s not going to be this bad with a real fingernail). But as long as he limps to the finish line the way he’s going now, he’s going to opt out. 12 mil/2 years is a joke in today’s pitching market. A 4-ish ERA over 3 160ish inning seasons in the AL East is still worth something- someone will take the chance just like the Jays did, maybe not as longterm.

    Andrew: You mean you don’t want him to hurt his hand punching a wall, or you wish he’d show more emotion?

    halejon

    June 7, 2008 at 10:15 pm

  4. I care that he does not show his aggression in stupid ways. Emotion rocks and its a huge part of the game… I’m just not convinced he can pitch any other way than balls to the wall. I had to hit the road after the first and caught the end of the game on radio… how was his velocity during his meltdown? Even if the gun was hot, it should be consistently hot. Perhaps he ‘busted his nut’ in the first few innings and lost his stuff.

    Oh, and I did something similar to my fingernail about 4 years ago and once it grew back it came in thin and brittle. It’s less brittle now but just as thin. He may have to wear the fake nail for a few years. I think he’s used to it now. It seems like hes getting used to the artificial nail as it seems his curve has better credentials.

    Andrew

    June 7, 2008 at 10:31 pm

  5. Pitch f/x says it went down to around 96 from 98- pretty standard after that many pitches. I think it was mostly location and not heat that he lost.

    Hmm, never thought of that. Not sure if he’s still wearing anything on that nail, whatever that stuff he was putting on it to thicken it might have done the trick. But yah, his curve is back to form at least in terms of movement. He doesn’t really have to do much with it for the spike curve, just have something to dig in with.

    halejon

    June 7, 2008 at 10:40 pm

  6. where can i find pitch fx info for a game after its complete?

    Ari

    June 9, 2008 at 1:17 am

  7. The nail doesn’t explain his home/road splits.

    Torgen

    June 9, 2008 at 1:42 am

  8. Ari: You can find the data as it happens here:

    http://gd2.mlb.com/components/game/mlb/year_2008/

    It’s inside the month/day/game/pbp folder (in XML).

    halejon

    June 9, 2008 at 2:51 am

  9. Do 22.2 innings need that much explainin’?

    halejon

    June 9, 2008 at 2:52 am

  10. i’m on a mac, is that why i don’t get any results? or do you have to click on these links during the game?

    Ari

    June 9, 2008 at 12:28 pm

  11. What do you mean by no results? You can click on those links any time, during the game or whatever. You have to root down, find the XML file for the player/batter you want and then save it and work with the fields in Excel. I’m not sure about all versions, but the version of Excel I have on my mac doesn’t work.

    Jon

    June 9, 2008 at 1:14 pm

  12. That IP count argument is a little specious. If a pitcher makes 18 starts at home and gets knocked out in the first every time, you don’t look at his low IP count and say it’s a small sample size. Burnett’s case is a little less extreme, but he’s averaging barely 5IP/GS at home vs. almost 7IP/GS on the road. His longest home starts were 6IP, while his shortest road starts were 5.2IP.

    Torgen

    June 9, 2008 at 1:59 pm

  13. well in safari, when i try to click on one of the pitchers, it just gives me a blank screen (and i bought microsoft office)…any help?

    Ari

    June 9, 2008 at 2:25 pm

  14. It’s still a tiny sample size if he wasn’t getting knocked out 1.25 innings earlier at home. 23 innings, 28 innings, whatever- 4 starts isn’t enough to call it a trend.

    If you want a REAL sketchy-split-that-probably-means-nothing, Shaun Marcum over his career has an ERA of 3.40 at night and 6.02 during the day (160 and 80 innings respectively). And really scooping the bottom of the barrel, Litsch is the other way around with a 1.27 ERA during the day and it’s 5.66 at night this year…spooky.

    Jon

    June 9, 2008 at 2:34 pm

  15. Ugh…Safari is probably trying to deal with the XML and choking on it. I use Firefox and it puts up the fields and numbers strung together. Maybe just try right-clicking on the pitcher’s number and “save as” and then open it in Excel? Although it depends what version of Excel.

    Jon

    June 9, 2008 at 2:37 pm

  16. check out blair’s blog…halladay’s shrinking zone? i need my mockingbird fix.

    Ari

    June 9, 2008 at 2:39 pm

  17. Haha:

    “I’m sure there’s some stats dude out there with some sort of graph or some such thing that can verify or shoot this down. But it’s just an observation, that’s all.”

    That almost sounds like a challenge…I’ll get on it as soon as I’m done “work”. My guy instinct/memory tells me no freaking way does the Doc get squeezed. But I haven’t seen Sunday’s yet.

    Jon

    June 9, 2008 at 2:43 pm

  18. “This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below.”

    That’s the message I get when trying to open it in Firefox. It comes out as computer code. What am I doing wrong, or don’t I have? And yeah, it looked like a well umped game to me, but then again I was pounding beers in level 500.

    Ari

    June 9, 2008 at 2:44 pm

  19. You can’t open it in firefox – you have to save it in somewhere in .XML format and then find a copy of Excel that will open it (it should come out in columns with the data under it). In some versions of Excel you can go into the Data menu and import the XML straight from the web address, but I’ve never done that myself.

    Jon

    June 9, 2008 at 2:51 pm

  20. i know it’s not AJ related, but you should email Jeff Blair at The Globe. He’s yearning for some pitch f/x love and after i read his blog post, i figured you’d be the man to give him what he’s looking for…

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080609.WBbaseball20080609140301/WBStory/WBbaseball/?page=rss&id=RTGAM.20080609.WBbaseball20080609140301

    Navin Vaswani

    June 9, 2008 at 3:42 pm

  21. […] The Mockingbird notes that A.J. Burnett has “the maturity of a two-year-old Chihuahua,” following Burnett’s mock tipping of his cap on Saturday. And to think, we could’ve had this guy in Orange and Black. Burnett, that is; not The Mockingbird. […]


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