Last year A.J. Burnett had his best season since 2005. That’s fact, not opinion. Probably not coincidentally, 2005 was also his last season in the National League before extended stays in Toronto and New York that resulted in six disappointing seasons in the Junior Circuit.
It’s one thing when a player has a player has a throwback season without any changes in their peripherals, but it’s a completely different thing when their resurgence is cued by better performance. That’s exactly what happened with Burnett. In year one with the Pirates, Burnett posted his lowest walk rate since 2006 (2.76 BB/9, 7.3 BB%), his best K:BB ratio since 2006 (2.90), and his best ground ball rate since 2005 (56.9%). If there are just three pitching peripherals you ever look at, it’s those three. Burnett excelled in all of them.
Now, onto year two!
At a Glance
Strengths: QS, K, K/9
Neutral: W, ERA, WHIP, BB, BB/9, IP
Best-case scenario: Ian Kennedy (ARI)