Tuesday, February 17, 2009

AJ Burnett

New arrival AJ Burnett landed himself a decent contract from a team that needs stability in the rotation and is going out on a limb hoping he stays healthy.

Burnett had a career year last year, getting 18 wins, a significant increase over the previous years mainly because it was one of the few years he was able to start  a decent number of games (34 to be precise).

There are two big knocks against AJ, the first is his injury history and the second is that his best performances come in those critical years right before his contract is up.

The Bill James Handbook and the Baseball Prospectus have AJ penciled in for 13-14 wins this season with an ERA between 3.62 and 3.82

Burnett still has the stuff, and if he can remain healthy should be able to match or even surpass last year’s success. The problem is: that’s a big “if”.  The Yankee’s don’t have the problem of unproven starters that they did last year with Hughes and Kennedy, but Chamberlain might not be ready for a full season of starts and the Yankees could be in big trouble if Burnett succumbs to injury. Remember last year, when Igawa, Ponson and Pavanno all got starts? Let’s hope we don’t sink to similar depths this year.

Maybe the injuries of the past were just flukes. Let’s hope so. If that’s the case and AJ makes all his starts, he should be a reliable arm for the Bombers.

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