New York Yankees: AJ Burnett Expects To Start And I Do Too New York Yankees: AJ Burnett Expects To Start And I Do Too New York Yankees: AJ Burnett Expects To Start And I Do Too
 

New York Yankees: AJ Burnett Expects To Start And I Do Too

The hottest topic in Yankee Universe at the moment is who should win the fifth spot in the starting pitching rotation between Phil Hughes, AJ Burnett and Freddy Garcia.

So, over the last week I have read and heard many opinions on the topic from bloggers to analysts to the manager at my local Starbucks.

The most annoying trend is the immediate discounting of Burnett, as entitled Yankee fans have branded him as the pitcher’s A-rod.

Personally, I like both A-rod and Burnett because they work hard and when they are on, they are great. But getting into that discussion is for another time.

The point is that no matter what happens in Spring Training, Burnett deserves the fifth spot in the rotation. This has nothing to do with money because it is not like I am writing the paychecks.

The reason is Burnett has earned it, and here are three reasons why:

  1. Since signing with the Yankees, Burnett has been totally healthy making all 33 starts each season. This is not the case with Hughes as he has spent more time on the DL with multiple injuries than the mound; and Garcia had that kitchen knife accident last season, and was sidelined for most of August.
  2. If you look closely, four of Burnett’s 11 losses in 2011 were due to the Yankee hitters only scoring 0-2 runs because he posted an ERA of 3.00, gave up just four homers and maintained a WHIP of 1.00. Compared to 14 of 18 of Hughes wins from 2010 came on days when the Yankee bats scored 6+ runs. Hughes won ZERO games when the bats scored 0-2 runs, had just 3 wins were when the team scored 3-5 runs and one win he got coming out of the bullpen.
  3. If any player is going to step it up, especially in New York, it should be in the month of October. Burnett stepped it up BIG TIME last season to keep the Yankees in the playoffs.

Now I kept this list short by choosing three points that covered a lot of ground.

I didn’t want to waste anymore time defending Burnett as too many Yankee fans are blessed with the gift of selective hearing to bother.

I will leave you with this….

It is fair to give the fifth spot to Burnett first, and if screws up it will, let it be his own fault. Burnett haters should have no problem with letting AJ decide his own fate because if you all are correct, he won’t last very long.

Garcia can easily work out the bullpen, as it won’t deflate his ego and he can come in for multiple innings if needed.

Hughes should not even be considered for a rotation spot yet; especially after coming into to last season out-of-shape, as that kind of BS is intolerable. You cannot forget that Hughes had two very different injuries in 2011 with the dead arm, followed by the herniated disc in his back the moment he got off the DL. And he also missed time for a ribcage injury in 2008.

The bottom line is Hughes has to prove his worth again, and should start in Scranton. This will keep his arm on a starter’s schedule, which means he can be ready to jump right into the rotation when and if he is needed.

Yankee fans have to stop hanging on Hughes’s one decent half of a season back in 2010, as it is getting old. Not to mention how ignorant it sounds because fact is stats don’t lie.

So, maybe it is time to get off the hater train, and jump on the Burnett bandwagon…. as remember back in 2009, when AJ delivered that vital Game 2 performance to win the Yankees their 27th World Series.




24 Comments

  1. Tanned Tom says:

    I'm with you completely about Hughes and the lack of conditioning b.s. For a pitcher who is all of 24 that strikes me as a fatal flaw. I think he still has trade value, and I hope Cashman sees the line of starters in Scranton who are major league ready and calls an end to fat-farm boy's time in pinstripes. Ship him off for a prospect or two.
    But Burnett over Garcia? I can't go with you that far. I'll only deal with you own arguments: 1) yes Burnett has been healthy and made all his starts, though that's hardly a plus when you're as awful as Burnett has been. Worst starter in all of baseball over the last 2 years not named John Lackey (only counting pitchers who started both years). 2) You compare Burnett's runs supoort to Hughes'. i already agree with you about Hughes so I'll skip this. 3) It is simply not correct to say that Burnett pitched well against Detroit.

  2. Tanned Tom says:

    He went 5 and 2/3 innings, gave up 1 earned run on 4 hits, 4 walks, and 1 HR. This is not anything more than an okay outing. And like everyone who saw the game, I remember that even that line was aided by two great defensive plays by Granderson. That first catch doesn't get made and it's 5 hits and 4 runs, which is a terrible performance. So "stepping it up" was one sensational catch away from stinking it up. Please, that can't be a serious argument.

    • LLP says:

      I remember both of Grandy's catches but AJ still kept them in the game…..they Yankees couldn't hit and he did his job, just like Granderson did his.

  3. Tanned Tom says:

    Then you throw in game 2 of the 2009 World Series, which you do every time you write about Burnett. Fair enough. He was good in game 2. But let's look at both of those crucial October games. His stats for 2 starts were 9 innings, 8 hits, 6 walks, 1 HR, all for an ERA of 7.00. How is that anything but dreadful? How about other post season starts for NY? Oh wait, why bother, because those were the only 2 times he was anything besides terrible. The other 5 starts were bad beyond words: 26 innings, 24 hits, 16 walks, 20 earned runs. You are basically throwing out all the other statistical evidence over 3 years and 3 post seasons that say this guy sucks,and focusing on just 2 games, one of which hinges on a great defensive play?
    You wrote, referencing Hughes, "Not to mention how ignorant it sounds because fact is stats don’t lie". They sure don't, so to prefer Burnett over Garcia can only be a matter of disregarding the stats.

    • LLP says:

      Tom – I got a bunch of hate emails regarding Burnett and some comments. So, I felt like I needed to address the issue not due to Burnett is getting it bad, but because of the amount of support Hughes is getting. It is totally unbelievable to me that experts and bloggers overlook Hughes's injury history and lack of history all together…..Hughes should go to Scranton and make a few starts to prove he is capable again!! No matter what he does in Spring Training.

      • Tanned Tom says:

        I'm sorry if the crazy people who seem to live on these sites have been getting on you, there's no reason for that kind of personal abuse (I've my gotten some myself, so I know what you're talking about). And i do agree with you about Hughes, people give this guy a pass, when lesser issues had Chamberlain demoted to the pen, and Kennedy run out of town. Hughes has actually pitched well in relief, but outside of the first 6 starts in 2010 has been terrible as a starter. There was 2008 when he hid rib injuries from the team and stunk it up, there was the dead arm for most of 2010, then there were the shoulder and leg issues for all of 2011. Lot of injuries for such a young player (Nick Johnson anyone?). What bothers me is the lack of conditioning, which contributed to 2010 and 2011's failures. Anyone who thinks this guy shoud be a starter needs to go to baseball 101 and put in some remedial studying.

        • No worries but thank you Tom…..people, excuse me Yankee fans are very opinionated and tend to fly off the handle at anything they do not want to hear. I never claim to be right all the time at all, but I do have an opinion. I love reading other opinions on baseball, as a lot of the time it opens my eyes to things I didn't think of and it can be enlightening.

          Also, even though LLP is primarily a Yankees blog, the amount of Yankee haters that come on is ridiculous!! It is as if they like to torture themselves with the Yankees, instead of reading about there own team. It obviously drives them nuts….

          About Hughes….no word is worse to hear about a young player than lazy!!! Hughes is not naturally talented enough to mask his lack of effort with his pure, God-given talent because we wouldn't have suspected it. His delivery seems too short and quick to me….it doesn't seem natural and looks like a nervous twitch more than a pitcher extending his arm to throw!!!

  4. thomas catanzarita says:

    I actually think the Yankees go with the third option and that is Garcia. He pitched well enough last year in my eyes to be the fifth starter. Kitchen accident aside i think he had a good season. I think you send Hughes down to make a point to him that hard work and dedication keeps you in the show. I even think you put Burnett in the pen. I know that he has never really pitched out of then pen, but I think his "stuff" would translate well. He could become a dominate reliever like when Smoltz transitioned there.

    • Garcia and Burnett were not to far apart in the first half of last year. They both had weaknesses and strengths, so that I am not so sure of.
      Garcia can't be around any knives this season, as they say if you can't take the heat get the heck of the kitchen.

  5. Ken says:

    Garcia is clearly the least bad (and in fact, very decent) option for 5th starter.

    Have him start as many games as he lasts, and then, and only then, replace him with someone else.

    It is now crystal clear what we can expect from Burnett…

    It is impossible to say what we can expect from Hughes. Needs to grow up and become more professional.

    • Garcia and Burnett were not to far apart in the first half of last year. They both had weaknesses and strengths, so that I am not so sure of.
      Garcia can't be around any knives this season, as they say if you can't take the heat get the heck of the kitchen.

  6. Richard Griffith says:

    You like to cherry pick stats to make your points, then try to present them as facts.
    Burnett stunk in 2011. He was 40 out of 42 in ERA/Whip. You can't get much worse. If anyone deserves the 5th spot based on 2011 performance its Garcia. Who cares what Burnett did in 2009? Now you act ignorant just by bringing it up.
    But 5th starting rotation spots are won in the 2012 Spring Training, not in 2009, 2010 or 2011. Any one of those guys can make it, even Burnett.

    • Richard…..you wrote:

      "You like to cherry pick stats to make your points, then try to present them as facts."

      Aren't stats….facts??????

      • Richard Griffith says:

        Stats are a set of numbers for that particular event and thereby a fact. But you can't take a single fact to make any point.

        You state: "So, maybe it is time to get off the hater train, and jump on the Burnett bandwagon…. as remember back in 2009, when AJ delivered that vital Game 2 performance to win the Yankees their 27th World Series"

        or:
        "If any player is going to step it up, especially in New York, it should be in the month of October. Burnett stepped it up BIG TIME last season to keep the Yankees in the playoffs."

        Yes in 2009 Burnett pitched well in that game. That is a Stat and a Fact that proves ONLY that he pitched well in that game, NOT that he deserves anything. Moreover, Burnett did not step up BIG TIME in the game vs Det last year. He pitched 5.2 innings, faced 24 hitters, and was bailed out by multiple defensive plays. Again his WHIP was 1.412, which is similar to his 2011 body of work – Terrible.

        Yankee fans will BOO a ham sandwich, let alone a pitcher that does not perform well. Burnett needs an off-speed pitch because his flat over the plate 94 MPH FB is a joke.

  7. Richard Griffith says:

    And since your such a big Burnett fan, how about getting your folks to put a Yankee uniform on him. LOL

  8. thomas catanzarita says:

    wow people calm down lol its just a discussion! It's not like we make the decision

    • Thomas I totally agree…..but I think it is good to debate about topics.

      Spring Training is not the best time to judge a player, as you can have a great Spring Training that doesn't carry over to the regular season. It happens a lot of the time, so my guess is Girardi and Co. already know who will be the fifth starter.

  9. Richard Griffith says:

    Nova and Hughes made the starting rotation based on Spring Training performance. It's been this way for 50 years for those last few undecided spo

  10. Tanned Tom says:

    Trade all 3 of them and go with Warren or Phelps. Burnett will be hard to deal, but the circus only stays in town 2 weeks, not 5 years. Take back a minor leaguer, pay $25 mil and let's move one. Garcia is clearly the best of the 3 but will also bring back some value, maybe the lefthanded bat they need. Hughes, ugh, let's just let him become someone else's project. He might bring back 2 prospects, one at SS the other in the OF. Assuming any Garcia deal is a salary wash, and the Hughes deal brings minor leaguers, that saves $7 mil in 2012 and $4 mil in 2013. Not tons of payroll space, but worth it. I hate to part with Freddy, but I can't see the others bringing a useful bat.

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