The Poor Man’s Analyst

Posts Tagged ‘A.J. Burnett

Sorting out the Rotation

with 9 comments

I was talking to my dad this past week about the state of the Yankees pitching staff. You see, my dad is one of those pessimistic Yankee fans, although not nearly as pessimistic as Steve Lombardi. Side note: That post right there got me banned from Was Watching. Talk about letting criticism roll off your back.

Anyways, as I was saying…according to my dad it’s a virtual lock that Burnett will get hurt this year, and I can’t really blame him for that. So with the Yankees already not having a reliable fifth starter, and Joba having an innings cap this year, there’s reason to worry about where the remaining innings will come from. What he doesn’t realize is that it’s extremely rare for any team to have good starting rotation health all season, and every team relies on starters at some point that Joe Fan hasn’t heard of. Let’s use the Red Sox, who had the third best starters ERA (4.02) in the American League this past season, as an example. The Red Sox top 4 starters—Beckett, Matsuzaka, Wakefield, and Lester—pitched a combined 733.1 innings, compared to 966.2 total from everyone combined. That’s a difference of 233.1 innings. Keep those numbers in mind. Read the rest of this entry »


Written by dcn29

January 10, 2009 at 6:49 PM


with 3 comments

One of the most difficult aspects of predicting pitcher performance is the seeming inevitability of injuries. Some pitchers are more injury-prone than others. There are reasons that Greg Maddux has been on the DL once in his career (for a back injury) and A.J. Burnett has been on the DL practically every year except this past one. For a mechanical analysis on why this may be, I’ll direct you here.

But I’d like to compare the injury histories of A.J. Burnett and Ben Sheets. The Yankees were apparently scared off somewhat by Sheets’ medical records, and apparently didn’t seem to hesitate after seeing Burnett’s. Without further ado, I present the injury history of A.J. Burnett:

Aug 19,2002 – 15 Day Disabled list – (bone bruise on his right elbow)
Mar 29,2003 – 15 Day Disabled list – (right elbow inflammation)
Apr 26,2003 – 15 Day Disabled list – (right elbow inflammation) Resulted in Tommy John Surgery
Mar 26,2004 – 15 Day Disabled list – (right elbow injury, scar tissue removed)
Apr 1,2006 – 15 Day Disabled list – (Injury unknown)
Apr 22,2006 – 15 Day Disabled list – (right elbow soreness)
May 29,2006 – 15 Day Disabled list – (Injury unknown)
Jun 19,2007 – 15 Day Disabled list – (Right shoulder)
Jul 1,2007 – 15 Day Disabled list – (Right shoulder)

That’s a whole lot of elbows and shoulders. What about the oft-disabled Ben Sheets?

Aug 14,2001 – 15 Day Disabled list – (rotator cuff tendonitis in right shoulder)
Apr 29,2005 – 15 Day Disabled list – (vestibular neuritis in his left ear)
Aug 27,2005 – 15 Day Disabled list – (torn latissimus dorsi muscle)
Mar 30,2006 – 15 Day Disabled list – (right posterior shoulder strain)
May 10,2006 – 15 Day Disabled list – (tendinitis in his right shoulder)
Jul 16,2007 – 15 Day Disabled list – (Right finger sprain)

And then this past season he had a pulled muscle in his forearm, but did not hit the DL because rosters had already expanded. I don’t know about you, but I feel much more comfortable relying on Sheets than Burnett to start every 5th day. Most of what Sheets has had were fluke-type injuries, or at least aren’t serious arm injuries. It’s possible the Yankees just didn’t want to go near another National League pitcher after the problems that guys like Vazquez, Pavano, Randy Johnson, and Kevin Brown had adjusting to the AL East.

Written by dcn29

December 12, 2008 at 9:45 PM

Posted in asides

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