Sadly, I’m a day late to this, but what you see in the photograph above is what A.J. Burnett looks like right now. Is he trying to make the Pete Puma comparisons even more accurate?

Since signing his five year, $82.5 million contract with the New York Yankees in December of 2008, Burnett has accumulated 5.7 wins above replacement according to FanGraphs. In 2008, his last year pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays before signing that big contract with the Yankees, he finished the season 5.5 wins above replacement.

As you look through a successful pitcher’s annual numbers, you usually notice adjustments that go along with inevitable declines in velocity. A pitcher will find a new pitch, start throwing an off speed offering more often, or adapt a previous part of his repertoire into something new to get batters out. Up until this season, Burnett had always thrown fastballs 65%-70% of the time, mixing in that 12-6 knuckle curve ball somewhere around 30% of the time and¬†occasionally¬†including a change up.

With the average velocity of his fastball in decline, along with his ability to hit the strike zone, Burnett has been using his change up in more than 10% of his total pitches for the first time in his career. The results have been better than last year, but far from the vintage Burnett that struck out 231 batters in one season.

In his first start since the new hairdo, Burnett lasted six innings on Monday night, giving up four runs on seven hits and three walks.

I assume that this is a photo of Burnett either before or after that outing. It’s hard to tell.

Comments (4)

  1. If someone were to Photoshop those cartoon stars around Burnett’s head in the photo above, it would be a pretty accurate.

  2. I always found it weird that people blasted J.P for the Burnett contract. We got the guy for 2 years at 12 M a season. Seems reasonable.

  3. @Al: Not to be “that guy” but Burnett actually left two years and $24 million on the table. He was paid a total of $31 million for his three years here, or $10.33 mil per year for 3 seasons. Seems even more reasonable. ;)

  4. Along with the draft picks the Jays received when they offered Burnett arbitration; I found it amusing that some people (i.e. Keith Law) thought it was a decent signing for the Yankees with Burnett coming off a big year turning 32 when he pulled the same act in his last year with the Marlins and JP signed him for some PRIME years. JP took a better risk than the Yankees did and even if he wasn’t as good as he could be, Burnett provided good value.

    The BJ Ryan contract was disgusting and Frank Thomas was signed one year plus a vesting option too long; tossing Burnett into the mix of “bad free agent signings by JPR” is misguided and pandering to the anti-JP crowd.

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