The reason for this fantasy baseball bounce back candidate is simple. If he doesn’t pitch well, the real life baseball team is in trouble (barring a trade). Last year, A.J. Burnett pitched like everyday was Monday and Thursday, because that’s when my garbage gets picked up. The days could vary in your local area, check when your significant other yells at you to take yours out. Burnett was awful, and there have been stories abound about family distractions. I believe his wife got a second opinion on some plumbing. His K/9 of 6.99 was at its lowest since 2001, which is crazy forever in fantasy worlds and his first full season in the land of cups of coffee. I don’t think that repeats itself.
Burnett’s ERA was an unforgiving 5.26, but he pitched to a serviceable 4.66 xFIP. So examining his numbers deeper there seems to be only one problem, he got hit and hit hard. His LOB% of 68.8 was the lowest in the last 5 years and his BABIP of .319 leaves little to be desired. When you get behind batters, which it seemed like he always was, you tend to frame pitches and lose confidence in your secondary stuff. Unfortunately The Stadium They Built Next To The Stadium Ruth Built is a haven for balls flying toward the D train and that isn’t going to help him. So with a clear head and a honing of his command from new pitching guru, Rothschild, Burnett should be a decent late round buy as a low end 4th starter. Figure 13 wins and 180 K’s with a useable ERA in the 4.10 range. Gets a slight bump for run support and win capability on the Yanks. And, by bump, I mean a pat on the back not another exciting Tuesday afternoon with Charlie Sheen.