There’s only two types of years for AJ Burnett. He’s either playing hard because it’s a contract year or he’s hardly playing because he contracted an injury. Unless the Yanks are willing to give him a new contract every year to add to this one (which is definitely possible with the Yank$), our guess is that this will be a lot closer to a Pavano redux than a Mussina repeat. For now, Burnett becomes the Yankees number two pitcher, though Wang might have a thang to say about that. Or maybe Joba will be considered the number two by the end of 2009. So what say I about Burnett for 2009 fantasy baseball?
Burnett’s fairly unpredictable and now that he has a contract it’s almost guaranteed that he’s not going to be as productive in 2009 as he was 2008. He’ll probably go in 2009 fantasy drafts sometime in the second fantasy pitching tier (think Dice-K, Haren, Shields), though he’s more likely to give you value of the third or fourth tier with all his injuries, i.e. Burnett’s overrated. But, and this is J. Lo-sized but, if he can make it through 2009 healthy, Burnett could give you 18 to 20 wins, a mid-3 ERA and 200+ Ks. In 2009 fantasy baseball drafts, this is the kind of guy I would grab if my pitching were already stacked. Let me explain, you’re in a keeper league and you already have Johan and Halladay. Here, you grab Burnett because if he flames out in 2009 — no big whoop, you’re already set with a solid one and two starter. In all other cases where AJ’s drafted like he probably will be in 2009, I’d let someone else take a chance on The AJ Burnett Variety of Injuries Show.