Quote Of The Day: A.J. Burnett

When asked why he had so much success against the Boston Red Sox as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, but not as a member of the New York Yankees, a very frustrated A.J. Burnett responded:

I’m not in Toronto, so I’m tired of hearing about all that. That’s just retarded. If anything was different I made pitches when I was with Toronto, and I didn’t make pitches tonight. That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.

I’m sure Burnett will take some heat for using the term “retarded,” because as we all know, as soon as a word is used by the Black Eyed Peas in their lyrics, it becomes offensive.

And for the record, against the Boston Red Sox as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, Burnett’s ERA is 2.56. As a member of the New York Yankees, he’s given up 40 earned runs in 41 and a third innings against Boston, which translates into an 8.71 ERA. Of course, that’s far too small of a sample to draw any real conclusions.

Comments (19)

  1. Are you being sarcastic? 40 earned runs in 41 innings allows you to draw a very clear conclusion – he’s been TERRIBLE! If what you mean is we can’t conclude that there was some kind of magic Jays aura, I agree, although he has been awful in pressure situations his whole career…

  2. 41 innings does not a proper sample size make. And that’s not true about him being awful in pressure situations. He was the most clutch pitcher that the Yankees had in 2010.

  3. In spite of his clutchiness, I still think of him as the Yankees’ batting practice machine.

  4. @ Ray

    you do not understand sample size

  5. A.J., the question is designed to make you think of what you did differently in Toronto — perhaps to help you improve — they don’t actually think you’re pitching worse because you happen to be wearing pinstripes.

  6. How many innings do you need to see before you can say Burnett sucks against the Red Sox? Where is this written down? Seeing how at his best he was good for just a little beyond 5 innings a start, you’re talking about a lot of awfully-pitched games by him.

    • It’s ridiculous to say “he sucks against the Red Sox” in general, because there are different lineups that he’s facing through the years. But after 600 or so innings against one team, if numbers are drastically different I’d try to take a closer look at it.

      It’s possible that the Red Sox as a team over the last three years only take a different approach to facing Burnett that’s somehow more effective than the approach that every other team takes. But it seems much more likely to me that if Burnett were to pitch every game against Boston his numbers would only be slightly worse off than against the rest of the league. It would even out, and while Boston does have a very good lineup, they’re not almost nine runs a game against Burnett good.

  7. I don’t need your fancy sample sizes against the Red Sox to sum up AJ Burnett as a pitcher. I just look at his career win-loss record.


  8. To avoid the controversy he should’ve said “wicked retahded”.

  9. I think you have your years mixed up-Burnett was far from clutch in 2010-you must have meant 2009. As for sample size, if you think managers and GMs wait for three years worth of data to make personnel decisions, you are living in a fantasyland. Do you think Girardi would have flip-flopped Burnett with Nova this week, as he did with Sabathia? Hell no! And why not? I’d be willing to bet it would be that 41 inning sample size.

  10. Eric, ask and you shall receive.
    Speaking of statistically significant samples, I would claim that 41 innings is actually ample to make SOME conclusions. A sample of 41 innings should follow the same distribution as a full season, only with a much lower degree of freedom (meaning the standard deviation is much larger). It would be impossible to determine anything conclusively SO LONG AS the data rests within 3 standard deviations of the mean (which we should take to be his Yankees career). A data point outside of those three standard deviations is considered an outlier, meaning it can’t be explained within the model, meaning AJ Burnett kindof sucks against the Yankees.
    Of course the response to this is that it all depends on how you measure an AJ Burnett standard deviation. I would call a 9 ERA over a 1/4 season sample size significant, you might not. Either way, without further calculations, neither of us can claim to be right.

    I’m probably wrong though, seeing as how I do not understand sample size…

  11. As an aside, I didn’t mean to come across as a prick there (though I absolutely failed). It just irks me when people assume that anyone who fails to agree with any statistical statement is clinically retarded.

    • AJ Burnett has faced 339 batters this season. From the valuable research of Pizza Cutter, the numbers we can trust as stable are: K/PA, grounder rate, line drive rate, flyball rate, GB/FB.

      Through this same research, he concluded HR/FB rate didn’t stabilize over even 750 BF, interesting as it is one of the only numbers that’s appreciably worse among AJ’s peripherals.

  12. I totally get the concept of “small sample size”, and there are other effects involved as well (he’s a couple of years older, different home ballpark, etc). I just don’t think it’s somehow unfair to ask the question. Overall he WAS good against the Sox when with the Jays, and overall he HAS been bad against the Sox while with the Yankees. If the answer to the question is “Their lineup is totally different so you can’t compare” or “They’ve changed their approach against me” or “I’ve somehow developed this phobia of a stylized letter “B” on a player’s batting helmet” then just say so.

    • @Oilers – I agree with most of this. I think there’s value in saying “he hasn’t pitched well against the Red Sox” without saying “HE CAN’T BEAT THE RED SOX!!!!1!!” In all, Burnett has pitched worse against everyone in 2010/2011 compared to his Blue Jays years.

  13. 600 innings against the 2011 Red Sox before you’re ready to draw any conclusions. So, seeing how Burnett is lucky to go for 6 innings a start, let’s be generous and say he would need to face them 100 times before anyone’s willing to say he definitively sucks.

    I think some of you guys who are good writers are worried that shithead readers are going to squeak “sample size!!!” unless you say it first. You don’t have to. Koufax didn’t get 260 innings in his career against the Giants, but I think we can all draw some conclusions as to his performance against them.

  14. Burnett just misses Barajas, Doc and Brad Arnsberg. That’s why he pitches so poorly against the Sox now.

  15. It’s clear that Dustin Parkes doesn’t know shit about Baseball, Burnett most clutch in 2010? Where the hell were you? he has never been clutch. Every article you write is flawed, and it’s nothing personal. The score should fire you, i would love to come in to The Score and challenge you to a baseball IQ challenge. I have never heard or read more useless article’s or opinion’s since the score arrived in 1997 as Headline Sports as what you post. I could write better shit for free, yet they pay you? So Email me if you dare for a in studio debate…. a live 1 on TV or radio

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