When A.J. goes bad

Yanks can't figure out Moyer, fall 6-3
Is it the pitcher, or is it the opposing offense?
Photo Credit: Seth Wenig, AP

A.J. Burnett was so bad last night, he made a punchless offense look like the superstar sluggers they were supposed to be. The Phillies, a team that had scored six runs just twice since doing so on May 15, lit him up like Times Square. After 3.1 painful innings in which he threw first-pitch strikes to just 10 of the 21 batters he faced, Joe Girardi mercifully yanked him from what would be a 6-3 loss.

Last night’s affair was one of those ugly outings where the pitcher shoulders all the blame. Burnett threw 87 mostly bad pitches en route to a six-hit, four-walk appearance. He was responsible for all six runs the Phillies scored and struck out three hitters. Shockingly, Phillies’ batters swung and missed just five times against Burnett. He had nothing.

Unfortunately for the Yanks, having nothing has become a common theme for A.J. After starting the season 4-0 with a 1.99 ERA over his first six starts, the wheels have utterly fallen off. Over his last eight appearances, Burnett is 2-5 with a 6.36 ERA in just 43.2 innings. Opponents have knocked out nine home runs over those starts, and his K/BB ratio is an ugly 35/22. He’s not giving the Yanks quality starts or innings right now.

For the team adjusting to the second of five years of the A.J. Burnett Era, this wildly inconsistent performance is nothing new. The Bad A.J./Good A.J. meme didn’t arise out of thin air, and the Yankees and their fans know that Burnett is only as good as the movement on his pitches. He’s a high-walk, high-strikeout pitcher with little command within the strike zone of his pitches, but his stuff can be so devastating and overpowering that the lack of command often doesn’t matter. And to think the Yanks only have three years and $49.5 million left on this contract after 2010.

That’s the real rub. The Yankees will have to live with A.J. Burnett and his amazing disappearing act through his ages 34, 35 and 36 seasons, and Baseball Reference’s Juan Guzman and Pete Harnisch comparables don’t inspire much confidence. Neither pitcher were still in the bigs come their age 35 seasons.

But does this inconsistency coupled with the inevitable decline of age make Burnett’s deal a bad one? So far, it’s tough to complain about it. He arrived with high expectations last year, and by and large, delivered on his salary. While earning $16.5 million, Burnett was, according to Fangraphs’ WAR, a $14 million hurler. Considering the Yanks had to outbid the Atlanta Braves for his services and won a World Series in his first year in pinstripes, I’d say the team is happy to pay a $2.5 million premium.

Going forward, though, Burnett’s 2010 experiences feature a few warning signs. As the Phillies demonstrated last night, Burnett isn’t getting many swing-and-miss strikes. In fact, this year, his Swinging Strike percentage is down to 7.2 percent. Prior to joining the Yanks, Burnett was generally above 10 percent (and well above league average) in that category, but since coming to the Bronx, his swings-and-misses have dissipated. More balls in play inevitably lead to more hits.

In a similar vein, Burnett’s strike outs have declined precipitously as well. In his peak years in 2007 and 2008, Burnett averaged nearly 9.5 K/9 IP. Last year, that figure declined to 8.48, and this year, he has around 6.7 strike outs per nine innings. We want to see that number stay steady.

It’s still too early in the year to draw many conclusions, and Burnett’s dip in numbers as well as a one-mph drop in velocity, could just be related to early season pitching woes. Nothing reminds us of Dr. AJ and Mr. Burnett quite like an eight-game, 2.50-ERA span, and he could start one of those next week against the Diamondbacks. But last night, Burnett didn’t have it, and if that’s what his aging future in pinstripes is going to look like, that deal he signed might just be for one year too many.

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Yanks can't figure out Moyer, fall 6-3
Is it the pitcher, or is it the opposing offense?
  • beantownbosoxh8er

    Where is Eiland? this might have been covered in another thread…

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      a. Not trying to be bitchy here but this is OT.
      b. He’s taking time off for personal stuff. We don’t know what.

      • beantownbosoxh8er

        I dont think it is off topic. We are talking about a pitcher here and Eiland is the pitching coach.
        He is not with the team. I wanted to know if anyone knew why.

  • camilo gerardo

    when he’s going bad, most of the time, he can’t control the action/location on his fb.

    Is it too late to rework his armslot? hehe

  • coolerking101

    Maybe it’s just the way AJ speaks, but whenever I hear him in an interview, AJ comes off sounding like he just got off the short-bus. Year after year, people talk about AJ having the best “stuff” in baseball, yet he’s wildly inconsistent. If I’m right about AJ, I wonder if there could be a correlation between his lack of intelligence and an inability to make effective adjustments on the mound. Of course there are plenty of dumb athletes who succeed in baseball (cough…Manny Ramirez…cough).

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Sigh.

      Burnett has two pitches. When he’s on, they’re pretty incredible. When he’s not, disaster. It doesn’t have to do with his mental state. Sometimes pitchers just don’t have it.

      And why are you saying this about his interviews? I think he’s pretty dry in interviews.

      • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

        Sigh.

        i chuckled

      • coolerking101

        Just throwing it out there as a possible explanation. There are plenty of pitchers who don’t always have their A game but manage to tough it out.

        I agree AJ is dry in interviews, but he also seems incredibly simplistic and unable to offer any meaningful explanation or commentary. Simply an observation.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          I agree AJ is dry in interviews, but he also seems incredibly simplistic and unable to offer any meaningful explanation or commentary.

          He is not paid to do interviews or offer meaningful explanation.

          • Mister Delaware

            And the pies he throws … not even real pies. You can’t eat shaving cream, AJ!

            • Mister Delaware

              (Factually, I think that’s incorrect, they really are whipped cream, but just go with it for the sake of the point.)

              • http://twitter.com/marcos_aguirre Marcos

                Well the pie he gave Swish WAS shaving cream, so you’re incorrect in saying it’s incorrect to say that they’re whipped cream.

                or something.

                /dick’d-ish

    • Tom Zig

      So because AJ Burnett has a southern accent, he is retarded? Come on. His struggles have little if anything to deal with his perceived intelligence level. He was blessed with some of the nastiest stuff, but the baseball gods found that it would be humerous to give him poor command. AJ relies primarily on 2 pitches and when one or both aren’t working they wind up, up in the zone and often times land 400+ feet away. It happens. But when both pitches are working, it’s must see TV.

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

        Andy Pettitte = Southern accent, usually doesn’t use proper grammar. Therefore I declare Andy Pettitte retarded as well. (I feel bad even joking about this. :( )

        Seriously, this post is well-said.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      This is just beyond dumb.

      • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

        fact.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Of course there are plenty of dumb athletes who succeed in baseball (cough…Manny Ramirez…cough).

      Manny Ramirez isn’t dumb, he’s a goofball. There’s a huge difference.

      Manny’s smart enough to spend hours watching film, dissecting opposing pitchers and his own swing, then take that information into hours in the cage, refining it until his swing is perfect, then take THAT process to the plate, becoming a literal hitting machine capable of forcing pitchers into giving him what he wants and then killing it.

      He’s not simply a talented but dumb hitting savant; Manny’s pregame mental and phyisical preparation routine is legendary. He amazes his teammates and has done so at every stop with his ability to know what is coming and then destroy it.

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Anecdotally Manny has been known to take a feeble swing at a pitch in May, knowing that a few months later when he runs into that pitcher again, the pitcher will go with the sequence. Manny then hits the ball 450 feet. Manny is the Stephen Hawking of hitting.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Manny made a mistake once, just to see how it felt.

          • http://twitter.com/marcos_aguirre Marcos

            His blood smells like fertility meds.

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          Really? That’s awesome. I love Manny so very much.

          • deuce bag poster

            Are you serious? He’s an awesome hitter and I wouldn’t be against having him on the Yankees but he’s a dick.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              Maybe Bexy likes dick.

              (I had to go there. IT WAS JUST SITTING THERE, WAITING TO BE SAID!!!!)

              • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

                I just noticed this conversation and I am laughing.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Please tell me you aren’t serious. A southern accent and intelligence have as much of a correlation as shag carpet and zambonis.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        ZOMG HAVE YOU SEEN JOHNNY DAMON’S INTERVIEWZ HE MUST BE A RETARD OR SOMETHING!!!!

        /lastyear’d

      • coolerking101

        I went to school in the south, so I would never suggest being southern equals stupidity, let alone that an accent suggests intelligence or lack thereof. As for Manny… no, he’s not a smart guy and I know that for a fact. My father worked in the NYC school system for 30 years and was an acquaintance of Manny’s HS baseball coach.

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          Manny can be very real world-dumb but baseball-smart. When it comes to playing baseball, the baseball-smart part is all that really matters.

        • AndrewYF

          There’s much more to intelligence than academic success.

          Manny Ramirez is a hitting savant. I would probably bet that you won’t find a guy who’s more intelligent about hitting than him in the game today.

          • coolerking101

            Agreed. You don’t put up HOF hitting numbers without being a hitting savant. You do, however, forget which knee is hurt when complaining to management.

            • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

              so what? how many times did you pretend to be sick when you were a kid cause you didnt want togo to school only to get busted by your mom when you stopped coughing or your synmptoms changed to another illness?

              that is what it is. manny is just like a kid. I mean come on the dude’s offseason consisted of feetie pajamas and xbox.

              • Nickel

                Well, I probably wouldn’t play hookey if the school paid me eight figures a year to show up to class.

                And just for the record, I never played hookey. :-)

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          As for Manny… no, he’s not a smart guy and I know that for a fact. My father worked in the NYC school system for 30 years and was an acquaintance of Manny’s HS baseball coach.

          What percentage of high schoolers in general are dumb, though? A lot. Hell, I’m smart now, but I was dumb in high school. Because I was a teenager.

          Your anecdote doesn’t convince me.

    • Mike HC

      You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to succeed in baseball, as you stated. You want to get ahead of hitters, keep the ball low, and hit the corners.

      AJ is not working with a multitude of pitches were he gets by by out smarting hitters. He gets by with stuff and location.

      I have no idea what AJ’s intelligence level is, but it is kinda meaningless in this situation in my opinion. The guy has been smart enough to work hard and stay in shape his entire career to earn millions of dollars playing a game. I would say that is not too shabby. Some talented guys are not even smart enough to pull that off.

    • Rose

      coolerking101: I can’t compete with you physically, and you’re no match for my brains.
      Man in Black: You’re that smart?
      coolerking101: Let me put it this way. Have you ever heard of Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, AJ Burnett?
      Man in Black: Yes.
      coolerking101: Morons.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Well played. You might appreciate my tweets from this morning. The hashtags:

        #vizziniwasright

        http://twitter.com/tsjc68/status/16387676068

      • coolerking101

        Inconceivable.

  • A.D.

    This is who AJ Burnett is, he can be frustrating, but the Yanks went for the boom or bust player in that when on he can pitch with anybody, and when he’s off, look terrible, if he was incredibly consistent, he would be a Yankee, because he’d be demanding money in the CC realm.

    He’s goes in an out of groves, not having the normal pitching coach around probably doesn’t help, but hopefully he gets into a new groove soon.

    • A.D.

      *wouldn’t be a Yankee (or CC wouldn’t)

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      He’s goes in an out of groves…

      I do too. That’s where the fruit is.

  • A.D.

    But does this inconsistency coupled with the inevitable decline of age make Burnett’s deal a bad one?

    Other thing to consider is compared to Derek Lowe it looks pretty good

  • steve s

    The other part of the AJ story has been (prior to joining the Yanks) his inability to stay healthy. Continued ineffective pitching sounds like the precursor to a stint on the DL (either for a real but yet undisclosed physical problem or a mental health/Ollie Perez type visit). Let it happen before the trading deadline please.

    • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      does not compute. why would a pitcher who has not been hurt for the past 2-3 yrs but has still remained wildly inconsistent all of a sudden be due for a dl tripdue to the continuance of the norm (inconsistency) trait? and what does it have to do with the trading deadline? trading any prospects worthwhile for any pitcher at this time would be a terrible way to run a team

    • camilo gerardo

      good point. I’d rather have an inconsistent pitcher than that same pitcher but inconsistent and injured

      • steve s

        It’s not his inconsistency that is at issue; it’s the loss in velocity and reduced swinging strike/strikeout ratio as described in Ben’s story that makes an injury possibility (with a guy with his injury history) not a crazy thought. Do you think for a moment that if AJ went down (or any other starter went down) before the trade deadline the Yanks wouldn’t make a play for Lee or Oswalt? How is that a terrible way to run a team that is in contention?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Do you think for a moment that if AJ went down (or any other starter went down) before the trade deadline the Yanks wouldn’t make a play for Lee or Oswalt?

          Depends entirely on A.) how severe/long term the injury was and B.) what the price point for Lee or Oswalt is.

          The second part is the part that still figures to be the reason why we don’t do it. Having thought for a moment, I’ll still say no, we wouldn’t trade for Lee or Oswalt this season under any scenario.

          If a starter goes down for the season, I surmise you’d see more Sergio Mitre, Romulo Sanchez, Ivan Nova, or Zach McAllister until one of them took control of the job. Or possibly even Al Aceves or Joba, stretched out. Our other 4 starters are good enough to allow us to roll with one of those options as the 5th starter until we get to the playoffs.

          • steve s

            I don’t disagree that how hard the Yanks would make a play for an elite starter at the trade deadline would depend on the severity of the injury to a current starter and what they are being asked to give up in return. On the other hand bringing in Lee at the deadline (without subtracting anyone from the current major league roster) is a superior move than the ones you propose if the goal is to become a repeat champ in 2010

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              On the other hand bringing in Lee at the deadline (without subtracting anyone from the current major league roster) is a superior move than the ones you propose if the goal is to become a repeat champ in 2010

              That’s boversimplification, though.

              The goal is not to become a repeat champ in 2010. The goal is to become a repeat champ in 2010, and 2011, and 2012, and 2013, and 2014, etc. So we always consider the future ramifications of who we’re trading away and how much their loss makes difficult our chances of winning future titles.

              What exactly do you think it would take to get Lee, out of curiosity?

              • steve s

                I think Romine is the key for a Lee deal and I believe I read somewhere that Nunez is someone the Mariners like (but if they want Miranda instead that’s fine too). Add a McAllister (or a Double A starter like Phelps if Sea prefers) and there is your deal. I don’t think Yanks would pull the trigger on Lee, though, unless he signed an extension. On your other point, I want the core 4 back in the WS this year as the clock is ticking too fast on them and I’ll accept some re-tooling and/or disappointments down the road once Jorge, Mo, Jeter and Andy are no longer around or productive.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                  I’d rather keep Romine and ZMac (Nuñez is pretty meh IMO, whatevs) rather than use them for just a half-season of a guy who will be available on the market in November anyway. Romine is the balls.

                  And you may want the Core 4 to get back to the WS this year, sure; we all do. Doesn’t mean we should give up on one of the best catching prospects in the minors to get Lee. We can get back to the WS without him.

                  • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

                    And as far as the “Core Four,” they have five rings. I think they’ll be OK. Not like this guy:

                    http://www.tremendousupsidepot.....lakers.jpg

                    • steve s

                      Jeter will be “OK” once he has one more ring than Yogi.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Continued ineffective pitching sounds like the precursor to a stint on the DL (either for a real but yet undisclosed physical problem or a mental health/Ollie Perez type visit).

      A.) Correlation ≠ causation

      B.) Ollie Perez was phantom DL’d because he’d put up a 6.62 ERA (62 ERA+) with a 92/91 K/BB in his past 104.2 innings the last two years. AJ’s numbers during that same year and a half is a 4.13 ERA (103+) with a 258/130 K/BB in 294.1 IP.

      AJ Burnett ≠ Oliver Perez

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    FACT: A.J. Burnett had a 6.14 ERA in a nine start stretch from early August through mid-September last year and the same nonsense about his “mental limitations” was written.

    FACT: A.J. Burnett then dominated in Game Two of each playoff series and won the biggest game of the 2009 season.

    FACT: Bringing up intelligence whenever a guy struggles is nothing more than laziness.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      FACT: Bringing up intelligence whenever a guy struggles is nothing more than laziness.

      Agreed. But I have to admit, sadly, it’s a refreshing change of pace to see it done to a white guy.

      Now let’s stop doing it altogether, kthxbai.

      • Mister Delaware

        Soooo … does this mean that Cano thinks Burnett’s problem is intelligence?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Well played.

        • Pete

          no, cano’s too lazy to know burnett has a problem

    • coolerking101

      Look, no one here is in the clubhouse everyday or speaks with AJ. Maybe he’s in MENSA for all I know. I just made an observation of the guy and others took it to an idiotic level by suggesting it’s b/c he has tattoos or an accent.

      Putting AJ or any specific athlete aside for a moment, this world is filled with people with tons of natural talent who fail to reach their full potential b/c they lack the maturity or intelligence required to take them to the top. I think it’s foolish to dismiss intelligence as a potential factor in performance.

      • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

        You took it to an idiotic level by assuming he’s stupid for absolutely no reason other than your own observations of his interviews. And it’s VERY foolish to use intelligence as a reason he’s struggling. Even if he’s a complete moron, I would bet a lot of money that a) he’s not the most stupid athlete, b) there are more stupid athletes that have more success.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          All of that.

  • Mike HC

    Every time one of our players goes into a slump it is now always attributed to age. Jeter slumps, he is done. AJ slumps, he is done. What happens when Pettitte inevitably hits his first rough patch? I assume he will be done too. It reminds me of this years NBA Finals. Whenever a Celtics players has a poor game, it is because of age, and not just having a poor game. I know you are not saying these guys are done, but young guys go through slumps and rough patches too.

    In the modern sports era, guys are going to play well into their late thirties and probably 40’s as well. Every slump and bad performance will not be age related, but just a slump. It is tough to get shut down by a 47 year old pitcher and then blame poor performance on age related issues when our pitcher was like 15 years younger.

    • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

      What is the point you are getting at? That athletes don’t decline? I mean when a player gets into his mid 30s, he declines. That’s inevitable.

      • deuce bag poster

        I think he’s making a decent point actually. I mean, I find it far more likely A.J. is just slumping. Every slump is not necessarily age-related.

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          Ahahaha your username. Awesome.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Agreed.

      • Mike HC

        People have been claiming the Yanks are too old for about my entire life. Far too often an athlete in his 30’s goes through a slump, or even has a down year, and everyone just attributes it to his age and writes him off. Sometimes slumps are just slumps. As I think is the case here. As I think was the case with Jeter this year as well.

        Like Vernon Wells even. He has had up and down years his entire career. But once he had a down year at that magic number of 30 something, he is done. Look at him this year though, it was just a down year.

        • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

          Makes sense. I still think it’s fair to ask (not necessarily to state) whether or not an older athlete is struggling due to age.

          • Mike HC

            Yes, I guess it is. But because the Yanks have had many superstar players in their 30’s throughout my life, you hear it all the time. After every WS or season, it was always the same story about how the Yanks are too old and can’t get the job down again. Again, similar to what Celtics went through this year.

            I guess it is fair, but maybe just frustrating for me to hear. I believe athletes and modern medicine will allow guys to perform at a high level well into their thirties. So every slump someone goes through at 33 (or even later) should not be followed by a “is this age related,” in my opinion.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    AJ is what he is. He has been for 10 years. He has great starts. He has had starts. He’s not stupid. He’s not a head case. He’s not on drugs. His tattoo ink is not bleeding into his brain.

    He’s a supremely talented pitcher who is consistently inconsistent. That’s not going to change. No need to psycho-analyze him after every good or bad start.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      He was who we thought he was.

      • AndrewYF

        I’m pretty sure Yankee fans thought he was one of the best pitchers on the planet, the way he pitched against the team they root for.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Why did this make me laugh so hard? Anyway, thanks, I needed it, after waking up early to be greeted by a bunch of ZOMG AJ IS TEH MENTAL CASE. articles.

    • mike c

      i’d like to see a pitcher like lee that can join the team and mentor the guy like halladay did in toronto. FWIW AJ did credit lee for inspiring him to go out and pitch like he did in 2009 WS game 2

      • AndrewYF

        I didn’t know you needed inspiration to pitch well in a World Series game.

        Let me guess – Jeff Weaver and Kevin Brown were inspired by Kenny Rogers’ time in NY.

        • mike c

          i’m not saying AJ needs anybody to make him better … but when you’re hypothetically trying to figure out what AJ has got going on between the ears, and you read about what halladay did with AJ in toronto, this is just another endless conversation point. oh, and you’re not smart enough to be a dick, sorry

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            …but when you’re hypothetically trying to figure out what AJ has got going on between the ears…

            There’s your problem. Don’t do that.

            • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

              yeah seriously. this is so dumb

            • mike c

              cold fusion, AJ burnett, the world can only dream of the possibilities

              • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

                The stuff about Halladay mentoring AJ is silly (he was what he’s like now in Toronto too) but this is hilarious to me for some reason, well played.

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            but when you’re hypothetically trying to figure out what AJ has got going on between the ears

            Nobody should be trying to do that.

            and you read about what halladay did with AJ in toronto

            I read a lot of stupid things every day. Just because it’s written somewhere doesn’t make it true.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              I read a lot of stupid things every day.

              My advice: cancel your subscription to The New York Post.

              http://www.instantrimshot.com

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        That Halladay mentoring AJ was total media narrative. The only possibility is that Halladay helped AJ stay healthly, but AJ never “took something off his fastball” because Roy told him to, and AJ has essentially been the same pitcher before Roy, with Roy and after Roy. AJ is a grown man. He’s 40!! He doesn’t need a babysitter, he is who he is, media narratives aside.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          AJ is a grown man. He’s 40!!

          http://images3.cafepress.com/p.....-White.jpg (safe)

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            Fantastic.

            • Mister Delaware

              I once stayed in a hotel with the Jays. Halladay and Burnett teamed up to push League out of their elevator so he’d have to meekly join the one I was in with Chacin and his weird glasses. Proof Halladay and Burnett were super close.

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                That’s an awesome story.

                It doesn’t mean anything about anything, but it’s still an awesome story.

        • mike c

          AJ is 40? i read your article btw… you make some good points, but with a guy like AJ who is a perpetual question mark, the key to unlocking the guy’s potential will be a theme that never goes away

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

            Heh. No he’s not really 40. Mike Gundy coach at Ok. State had a famous rant a few years back, yelling “I’m an man, I’m 40!!”

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            No, AJ is 33 years old.

            The line is a reference to the famous postgame rant by Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy.

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZU5AnxwIAg (safe)

          • whozat

            mechanics that are more consistently repeatable?

            Seriously, all this is is people searching for a narrative because “it’s hard to repeat mechanics with consistency, which is why pitchers who can do so are the exception and not the rule” isn’t satisfying enough. Doesn’t make it false.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              There are three kinds of pitchers that have problems repeating their mechanics on a consistent pitch-to-pitch basis:

              1.) Smart pitchers
              2.) Dumb pitchers
              3.) All pitchers somewhere inbetween “smart” and “dumb”

              Similarly, there’s also three kinds of pitchers who sometimes have problems making adjustments in-game to correct mechanical, mental, or emotional errors:

              1.) Right handed pitchers
              2.) Left handed pitchers
              3.) Pat Venditte

              • Mike HC

                In other words, humans.

                Everyone can’t be the kid from Rookie of the Year.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                  You’re picking up what I’m putting down.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Shouldn’t Andy Pettitte be able to do that?

        • http://www.teamnerdrage.com dr mrs the yankee

          But what if Andy teaches him to pitch like this http://www.baseball-reference......1030.shtml and not this http://www.baseball-reference......0240.shtml

          :(

          • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

            oh that 1-0 game against the braves was amazing. i remember getting chills.

            • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

              That game is the reason I love baseball like I do. But that is another story for another time.

              • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

                Did Andy have a wardrobe malfunction that night?

                • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

                  >:(

                  But I laughed.

        • mike c

          unrelated topic, but i’ve thought that andy has looked different since CC joined the staff– i know in the past he has worked well with guys like clemens, i’m not trying to credit CC for andy’s renaissance, but there may be some kind of x-factor in the chemistry the two of them may have together

          • whozat

            There are guidelines that ask people not to post off-topic comments. There’s a whole off-topic thread linked in the header of the site. Post this there.

  • ZZ

    While I agree that calling AJ dumb or not intelligent is messed up, there is something to be said about his “pitching state of mind.” In the same respect that AJ is what he is in terms of results he has also made very little progress in the past few years in the mental part of pitching as opposed to say a Andy Pettitte.

    I just want to make clear I am not calling AJ dumb. But I have no reservations saying these things, because AJ has admitted it himself time and time again.

    He has said multiple times in the past few years that he needs to get better at concentrating and focusing on the mound. I didn’t watch the postgame last night, but I would bet he said this or something along the same lines again.

    AJ has always and still does let the mental aspect of pitching get away from him fairly often on the mound. A big part of repeating your delivery is mental and often when he goes wrong like he did in that big inning last night, the delivery went with it. Not covering 1B last night was another example of him losing focus on the mound.

    And AJ is not just a 2 pitch pitcher. He has a very good 2 seamer and a very good changeup. Every ST he talks about using those pitches, but the season comes around and mostly the changeup is nowhere to be found.

    • Mike HC

      “Too stupid to make adjustments,” as was stated by cookerking, and lapses in concentration are two different things. I agree that AJ can lose his cool and concentration on the mound sometimes.

      Your comment is far closer to reality than cookerking’s. So I am kind of with you in this regard.

      • coolerking101

        Mike HC – feel free to disagree with me. It’s a blog, that’s the point. But when you use quotation marks, you’re supposed to repeat what was written verbatim, not simply insert your perceived summary of my comment. Nowhere did I write that AJ was “[t]oo stupid to make adjustments.”

        • Tampa Yankee

          Yeah Mike HC, coolerking said – “Maybe it’s just the way AJ speaks, but whenever I hear him in an interview, AJ comes off sounding like he just got off the short-bus.
          and…
          “If I’m right about AJ, I wonder if there could be a correlation between his lack of intelligence and an inability to make effective adjustments on the mound.”
          and finally…
          “Of course there are plenty of dumb athletes who succeed in baseball (cough…Manny Ramirez…cough).”

          No where did he say he was “too stupid to make adjustments!

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        • Mike HC

          “Maybe it’s just the way AJ speaks, but whenever I hear him in an interview, AJ comes off sounding like he just got off the short-bus.”

          – Here, you accused AJ of sounding like he is mentally challenged, or non pc, a retard.

          “If I’m right about AJ, I wonder if there could be a correlation between his lack of intelligence and an inability to make effective adjustments on the mound.”

          – Here, you attributed AJ’s inability to make adjustments to his perceived retardation.

          So I apologize for using quotes and paraphrasing your post to, “too stupid to make adjustments.” You were actually far harsher.

          “Of course there are plenty of dumb athletes who succeed in baseball”

          -Then you call AJ dumb, and negate everything you said prior, because dumb players can succeed in baseball. I guess they just can’t make effective adjustments.

        • Mike HC

          Oh yea, and I would not have been as offended as you if didn’t put the [ ] around the lower case “t.” I would have got the point.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      In the same respect that AJ is what he is in terms of results he has also made very little progress in the past few years in the mental part of pitching as opposed to say a Andy Pettitte.

      Agreed. My retort: It’s probably a fruitless discussion, because the likelihood of him figuring it out now and becoming that cerebral pitcher at some point in the future is probably pretty slim. He’s just one of those “effectively wild” guys who will probably be effectively wild his whole life, with occasional bouts of being non-effectively wild.

      I’m trying to think of an AJ Burnett type of pitcher who made that transformation into a cerebral, location, command/control guy and coming up blank. Any comparisons you can thing of?

      • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

        aj burnett needs to learn to pitch like mike mussina (who learned to pitch like jamie moyer)

        get the guy a white board for his locker

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          who learned to pitch like jamie moyer

          And Jamie Moyer just beat AJ Burnett.

          I see how it all comes together now!!!

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            The Looking Glass: we’re through it

          • Mike HC

            And Abe Lincoln taught Moyer how to pitch.

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          And some crossword puzzles.

      • ZZ

        I can’t think of anyone with AJ’s electric stuff that made that kind of transformation. But at the same time, I have always been terrible at making those kinds of comparisons.

        Your are right though. This discussion is probably fruitless.

        Just frustrating to watch, because while it really is a huge accomplishment that AJ has made it this far and had this much success, he also has not come close to taking full advantage of his talent.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          I’m with ya. As has been said many times before, AJ just is what he is.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5RtHZpnGko (safe)

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

          I can’t think of anyone with AJ’s electric stuff that made that kind of transformation. But at the same time, I have always been terrible at making those kinds of comparisons.

          Off the top of my head I can only think of Nolan Ryan, and he didn’t do it until his 40’s. He had the best 3 K/BB rates in his career at 43, 40, 42. He had 5 of his 6 best BB/9 seasons after the age of 40. He had the 3 best WHIP’s of his career at 44, 43, 42.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            He had the best 3 K/BB rates in his career at 43, 40, 42. He had 5 of his 6 best BB/9 seasons after the age of 40.

            Meh, that was probably all just Jim Joyce f#%&ng up behind the plate.

    • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      get him so adderol

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

    You know who should have gotten a lot more out of his talent, who unquestionably had the best stuff in baseball?

    Nolan Ryan

    • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      it is frightening to even consider this to be a possibility…

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Just think of how much better he would have been at beating the shit out of Robin Ventura if he had actually taken boxing classes and spent time honing his craft and repeating his delivery.

  • Pete

    Can we all just agree that control and command are skills/tools/talents that are every bit as innate and limiting as FB velocity is, and be done with the ridiculous boverreaction to AJ pitching exactly the same way he has pitched his entire career? Please?

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      Count me in.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Trying to be reasonable about Yankee baseball? Ha ha ha, Pete.

    • Not Tank the Frank

      “Can we all just agree that control and command are skills/tools/talents that are every bit as innate and limiting as FB velocity is, that AJ Burnett cannot consistently possess and be done with the ridiculous boverreaction to AJ pitching exactly the same way he has pitched his entire career? Please?”

      I agree 100 percent.