Start of 2010 – Now Stat Dump

Since the beginning of the 2010 season nobody has more hits than Robinson Cano.  The Yankees second baseman has 540 hits since the beginning of the decade.

Joey Votto’s 19.08 Fangraphs WAR is the highest over this time period.  Chone Figgin’s -1.0 WAR is the lowest.

Austin Jackson’s .374 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play) is the best of qualifying players.  Vernon Wells is on the opposite side of the with a .242 BABIP.

Derek Jeter has hit the lowest percentage of fly balls hit at 17.2%.

Ichiro has the most infield hits, 113, since 2010.  Second place Derek Jeter, has 76 infield hits.

Since the beginning of 2010 Brett Gardner has only swung the bat at 33.2% of pitches he has seen.

Joey Votto has the highest OPS, 1.034, in road games since 2010.  Nobody else has a OPS over 0.988 in this time frame.

Since the beginning of 2010 Carlos Gonzalez has a home 1.087 OPS but only a 0.749 OPS in road games.

Roy Halladay’s 17 complete games are the most since the start of 2010.  Cliff Lee has 7 shutouts leading Major League Baseball.

Bronson Arroyo has allowed the most home runs, 98.

A.J. Burnett has hit the most batters, 34, and wild pitches, 46.

Justin Verlander has thrown 10,771 pitches since the start of 2010 to lead the MLB.

Cliff Lee has the best first pitch for strike percentage at 68.4 percent.  Edinson Volquez has the worst percentage at 53.6 percent.

 

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*Statistics from Fangraphs and are through August 28, 2012.

Quick Look at Players in the Dodgers, Red Sox Trade

According to Dodgers LA Times beat writer, Dylan Hernandez, the trade sending Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers from the Red Sox is official.  I am not going into the winners or losers of the trade, what the trade might mean for Bobby Valentine’s future with the Red Sox, money, etc.  I am just going to give a little information on the players involved, according to MLB Trade Rumors, in the trade.

The Red Sox Receive:
RHP Rubby De La Rosa
RHP Allen Webster
INF Ivan De Jesus
OF/1B Jerry Sands
1B James Loney

Rubby De La Rosa was the Dodgers minor league pitcher of the year in 2010.  He was their third highest rated prospect in the Dodgers organization in the Baseball America Prospect Handbook in 2011.  He did not qualify as a prospect in the 2012 edition.  De La Rosa started 10 games and appeared out of the bullpen 3 times for the Dodgers in 2011 pitching to a 3.71 ERA.  Coming off Tommy John he has pitched 12 minor league innings in 2012 and 0.2 innings in the majors.  He has not allowed a minor league earned run in 2012.  He allowed 2 earned runs in his 0.2 innings with the Dodgers.  The Baseball America Prospect Handbook in 2011 his fastball sits at 95-96 mph and has registered as high as 102 mph.  He is able to hold the velocity deep into games & can find an extra gear when needed.  He has two promising secondary pitches in his changeup and slider.  The changeup sits at 85-89 mph with late fade.  The slider has sharp, late break when he stays on top of it.  Baseball America says he has the potential to become a No. 2 starter or a closer.

Allen Webster is a converted shortstop.  The Baseball America Prospect Handbook 2012 has Webster as the second highest rated Dodger prospect with a 55-Medium grade.  According to them his repertoire includes a 90-95 mph fastball that peaks at 97 mph with plenty of sink.  He also throws a slider and a curveball that are plus pitches at times, but he can get caught between the two because he has trouble staying on top of his curveball.  A changeup that features sink and fade at 79-83 mph might be his best pitch.  Some scouts argue that he tips it by slowing his arm speed however.  He compares to Derek Lowe and has the potential to become a No. 2 starter according to one Dodgers official in the Prospect Handbook.  So far in 2012, Webster has pitched all season at Double-A Chattanooga and over 121.2 innings he has a 6-8 record with a 3.55 ERA.

Ivan De Jesus is ranked as the 26th best prospect in the Dodgers organization according to the Baseball America Prospect Handbook 2012.  They graded him as a 40-Low.  De Jesus has spent time in 2012 between AAA Albuquerque and the Dodgers.  According to the Prospect Handbook he has an inside-out swing producing line drives from gap to gap with solid bat speed and he fits best at second base.   He has gone 9-33 (.273) with 3 walks in his limited plate appearances with the Dodgers in 2012 scoring 5 runs and knocking in 4 RBI.

Jerry Sands lost his prospect title for the 2012 edition of the Baseball America Prospect Handbook.  In the 2011 edition he was ranked as the sixth best prospect in the Dodgers system.  He set multiple school records for NCAA Division II Catawba before being drafted in the 25th-round of the 2008 draft.  He hit 35 homers between Low A Great Lakes and AA Chattanooga in 2010 on his way to being named as the Dodgers’ minor league player of the year.  The 2011 Prospect Handbook says he has had some trouble laying off high fastballs at times, but he shows an aptitude for handling breaking pitches so he shouldn’t just be a one-dimensional slugger.  He has spent time in the majors in 2012, but has spent the majority of his time at AAA Albuquerque batting .303/.380/.531 with 24 homers.

James Loney being sent to Red Sox has by far spent the most time in the majors of any player being sent the Red Sox way.  He has never been a big time power threat at first base, but had a respectable .346 OBP from 2006-2011 for the Dodgers.  But he has struggled in 2012 at the plate with a .646 OPS.  From 2006-2011 he had a .778 OPS.

The Dodgers Receive:
RHP Josh Beckett
1B Adrian Gonzalez
OF Carl Crawford
INF Nick Punto

Josh Beckett has taken the mound for the Red Sox since 2006.  He went 89-58 with a 4.17 ERA in his Boston career.  In 2012, however he has gone 5-11 with a 5.23 ERA in 127.1 innings.  When looking at his PitchFx (Fangraphs) you can notice a sharp drop in his average fastball velocity between 2011 and 2012.  In 2011 his fastball averaged 93.1 mph, which has dropped to 91.6 mph in 2012.  He also has gone away from throwing his fastball as much as he has done over his career.  Over his career he has thrown his fastball 62.1 percent of the time, and in 2012 he has gone under 50 percent for the first time at 47.6 percent.  Given, he has developed a cutter and has begun throwing it more.  I just point it out because I think the drop in velocity has contributed a more prominent role for his cutter.

Adrian Gonzalez has had a productive and respectable 2012 season, but it has not been up to his standards set the past few years.  His batting line from 2009-2011 was .306/.403/.536.  In 2012, it has dropped to .300/.343/.469.  This has led to a Fangraphs WAR drop from 6.6 in 2011 to 2.7 in 2012.  He still offers possible gold glove defense at first base when healthy.

Carl Crawford was not the same player with the Red Sox that he was in Tampa Bay.  That has been well documented.  Part of that is injury, some say Boston was not a good fit for him, but for whatever the real reason the result has been a lower performance with the Red Sox.  Crawford had a 7.6 Fangraphs WAR in 2010, his final year with the Tampa Bay Rays.  But he had a combined 0.6 WAR in his year and a half in Boston.  When playing a full season with the Rays he never stole less than 46 bases.  He only totaled 23 stolen bases in his time with the Red Sox.  I like sabermetrics in general, but one I do not completely side with are the defensive sabermetics.  That being said it is worth noting his UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) saw him lose a great deal of range in the outfield.  His UZR was never lower than 15.8 from 2008-2010.  His UZR in 2011 was -2.2 and -1.7 in 2012.  I question what role the Green Monster played in this, but either way I am just throwing the stat out there for you.

Nick Punto can play multiple defensive positions, but his hitting skills have never really stood out.  He has a career .649 OPS.  In 2011, he had a nice stink with the Cardinals on his way to a .809 OPS in 63 games.  But in a comparable amount of plate appearances so far in 2012 he has seen his current .573 OPS.  He has proved to be a nice utility player to have on a roster.  He will fill in to the role Jerry Hariston Jr. had before getting injured.

 

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More Interesting Stats

Pitchers As Hitters (Minimum 20 PA)
Reds RHP Mike Leake leads all Major League pitchers with 2 home runs.  Pirates RHP James McDonald leads all MLB pitchers scoring 8 runs.

Diamondbacks RHP Ian Kennedy has a 16.7% walk percentage.  He has a .053 batting average, but a .229 on-base percentage.  Kennedy only swings the bat 27.6% of the time as well.

Cubs RHP Matt Garza has struck out in 67.6% of his 2012 plate appearances.

Reds RHP Mike Leake and Nationals RHP Stephen Strasburg lead MLB pitchers with a 0.8 Fangraphs WAR at the plate.  Strasburg also leads MLB pitchers with his .782 OPS.  Leake has also seen the fewest percentage of fastballs, 55.3%, as a batting pitcher.

Catchers (Minimum 350 Plate Appearances)
White Sox A.J. Pierzynski has the most home runs among catchers.  Yadier Molina has 11 stolen bases to lead catchers.  He has never had more than 9 stolen bases in a season before.

Misc.
Blue Jays Edwin Encarnacion currently has a 3.8 Fangraphs WAR.  Encarnacion had a 3.1 WAR from 2009-2011.  His .951 OPS in 2012 is also a great leap forward from his career .812 OPS.

Indians RHP Vinnie Pestano leads MLB relievers in holds with 32.

Reds LHP Aroldis Chapman leads the MLB averaging 16.26 K/9.  Cubs RHP Carlos Marmol is averaging 8.01 BB/9, the highest rate among all relievers.
Braves RHP Craig Kimbrel is striking out almost half of all the batters he has faced at 49.1%.

 

*Statistics via Fangraphs and are through August 24, 2012.

Interesting MLB Stats Dump

Yankees SS, Derek Jeter leads the MLB with 167 hits.

White Sox DH, Adam Dunn leads the MLB with 36 home runs.  Dunn is also the MLB leader at both:  33.8 K% and 16.9 BB%.

Angels OF, Mike Trout leads the MLB with 96 runs scored and 39 stolen bases.  He has done this in only 99 games.  His 7.4 Fangraphs WAR is also the MLB’s best.

Tigers 1B, Miguel Cabrera leads the MLB with 104 RBI.

White Sox SS, Alexi Ramirez has the lowest BB% in the MLB at 2.3%.

Pirates OF, Andrew McCuthen leads the MLB with each of his .403 BABIP, .355 BA, and .418 OBP.

Cubs OF, Alfonso Soriano has seen the lowest percentage of fastballs in the MLB at 44.8%.  Twins INF, Jamey Carroll has seen the highest percentage of fastballs at 68.3%.

Angels 3B, Alberto Callaspo swings at the fewest percentage of pitches outside the zone at 20%.  Rangers OF, Josh Hamilton has swings at the highest percentage of pitches outside the zone at 46.0%

Rangers OF, Josh Hamilton has the highest swing percentage of all pitches at 59.3%.  Twins C, Joe Mauer however swings at the lowest percentage of pitches at 36%.

Rangers OF, Josh Hamilton has the highest swinging strike percentage in the MLB at 18.9%.  Rockies/Giants INF has the lowest swinging strike percentage at 2%.

Royals RF, Jeff Francoeur has the worst Fangraphs WAR, -1.7, in the MLB.

Tigers RHP, Justin Verlander leads the MLB with 181.2 innings pitched.

Tigers RHP, Max Scherzer leads the MLB with an 11.39 K/9 (Innings Qualified).  Indians/Yankees RHP Derek Lowe’s 3.33 K/9 is the lowest in the majors (Innings Qualified).

Athletics RHP, Bartolo Colon has thrown the highest percentage of fastballs in the MLB at 89.2%.  Mets RHP, R.A. Dickey has thrown the lowest percentage of fastballs at 14.0%.

Nationals RHP, Stephen Strasburg has the highest average fastball velocity in the majors at 95.7 mph (Innings Qualified).

Pirates RHP, A.J. Burnett has thrown the highest percentage of curveballs in the majors at 33.3%.

Yankees LHP, CC Sabethia has batters swing at the highest percentage of pitches outside the zone at 34.9%.  Indians RHP, Ubaldo Jimenez has the lowest percentage of this at 20%.

The lead for first pitch strike percentage goes to Phillies LHP, Cliff Lee at 71.2%.  Padres RHP, Edinson Volquez throws the worst percentage of first pitch strikes at 50.8%.

Tigers RHP, Justin Verlander’s 5.2 FanGraphs WAR leads the MLB among pitchers.  Angels RHP, Ervin Santana’s -0.5 Fangraphs WAR is the lowest.

Mike Trout made his 2012 debut on April, 28.  Here are Albert Pujols splits based around Trout’s 2012 debut:
Before April 28:  20g, .225 avg, .279 obp, .313 slug, .592 ops, 0 hr, 4 rbi.
Since April 28:   99g, .289 avg, .353 obp, .571 slug, .924 ops, 28 hr, 81 rbi.

The Yankees have hit the most home runs in the MLB, 190.  The Giants have hit the least, 77.

The Rangers have scored the most runs in the MLB, 612.  The Cubs have scored the least, 453.

The Marlins lead the majors with 121 stolen bases.  The Orioles have the fewest stolen bases, 39.

The Angels lineup sees the highest percentage of fastballs at 61.2%.  The Padres see the lowest percentage of fastballs at 54.7%.

The Cubs lineup swings at the highest percentage of pitches outside the zone at 33.9%.  The Indians lineup swings at lowest percentage of pitches outside the zone at 26.8%.

The Brewers pitching staff has the best strike out rate in the MLB at 8.53 K/9.  The Twins have the lowest strike out rate at 5.92 K/9.

The Brewers pitching staff has thrown the most pitches in the MLB with 18,478.  The Cardinals have thrown the least with 17,021.

As a pitching staff the Diamondbacks have thrown the highest percentage of fastballs in the MLB at 65.2%.  The Mets pitching staff has thrown the lowest percentage of fastballs in the MLB at 50.7%.

The Nationals pitching staff has thrown the highest average fastball velocity in the MLB so far in 2012 at 93.2 mph.  The Giants pitching staff has thrown the slowest average fastball velocity in 2012 at 89.9 mph.

The Cardinals pitching staff has thrown the highest percentage of first pitch strikes at 62.5%.  The Rockies pitching staff has thrown the lowest amount of first pitch strikes, throwing one 56.6% of the time.

*Statistics from Baseball-Reference/Fangraphs and are through August 21.  Season stats leaders are based on being qualified.

Intersting Minor League Baseball Stat Dump

25 year old RHP Tyler Cloyd leads the minor leagues with 15 wins.  He is currently 15-1 with a 2.19 ERA between AA and AAA for the Phillies.

Diamondbacks No. 2 Prospect, RHP Archie Bradley, leads Minor League Baseball with 79 walks in 124 innings.  However he has only allowed 76 hits on his way to a 1.247 WHIP and 3.62 ERA for the Single-A South Bend Silver Hawks.

Diamondbacks top prospect Trevor Bradley leads the minors with 19 wild pitches (21 including his 2 in the majors).  Archie Bradley is also second in wild pitches with 17.

Diamondbacks No. 12 Prospect, OF Adam Eaton, leads the minors with 128 runs scored.  Eaton also leads the minors in the following categories:  .391 BA, .456 OBP, .980 OPS, 191 Hits, and 44 Doubles.  He has spent time with the Diamondbacks AA and AAA affiliates.

Reds No. 2 Prospect, SS Billy Hamilton leads MILB with 143 stolen bases.  The record for most stolen bases in a minor league season is 145 by Vince Coleman in 1983.  Hamilton has the remaining portion of the season to catch or pass Coleman.

*Prospect Rankings via the Baseball America Prospect Handbook 2012.
**Statistics from Baseball-Reference and are through August 21.
***Billy Hamilton has passed the Coleman record as I Type

My 2012 MLB All-Star Ballot

The Starters:

National League:
Catcher:  Carlos Ruiz, Phillies
First Base:  Joey Votto, Reds
Second Base:  Brandon Phillips, Reds
Third Base:  David Wright, Mets
Shortstop:  Jed Lowrie, Astros
Outfield:  Ryan Braun, Brewers     Michael Bourn, Braves     Melky Cabrera, Giants
DH:  Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies

American League:
Catcher: A.J. Pierzynski, White Sox
First Base:  Paul Konerko, White Sox
Second Base:  Robinson Cano, Yankees
Third Base: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
Shortstop:  Elvis Andrus, Rangers
Outfield: Josh Hamilton, Rangers     Adam Jones, Orioles     Mike Trout, Angels
DH:  Derek Jeter, Yankees

Pitching Staffs:

National League:
R.A. Dickey, Mets (Starter)
Craig Kimbrel (Closer)
Matt Cain, Giants
Stephen Strasburg, Nationals
Johnny Cueto, Reds
Lance Lynn, Cardinals
Aroldis Chapman, Reds
Jonathan Papelbon, Phillies
Wade Miley, Diamondbacks
Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Tyler Clippard, Nationals
Santiago Casilla, Giants
Joel Hanrahan, Pirates
Gio Gonzalez, Nationals
James McDonald, Pirates

American League:
Justin Verlander, Tigers (Starter)
Fernando Rodney, Rays (Closer)
Chris Sale, White Sox
C.J. Wilson, Angels
Jake Peavy, White Sox
CC Sabathia, Yankees
Ryan Cook, Athletics
Joe Nathan, Rangers
Chris Perez, Indians
Felix Hernandez, Mariners
Jim Johnson, Orioles
Scott Downs, Angels
Tim Collins, Royals

Bench:

National League:
Backup Catcher:  Yadier Molina, Cardinals
Starlin Castro, Cubs
Carlos Beltran, Cardinals
Chase Headley, Padres
Dan Uggla, Braves
Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
Giancarlo Stanton, Marlins
Andre Ethier, Dodgers
Martin Prado, Braves

American League:
Backup Catcher:  Joe Mauer, Twins
Alex Gordon, Royals
Mark Trumbo, Angels
David Ortiz, Red Sox
Jose Bautista, Blue Jays
Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays
Mike Moustakas, Royals
Adam Dunn, White Sox
Josh Reddick, Athletics
Curtis Granderson, Yankees
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Red Sox

Final Vote: 

National League:
Aaron Hill, Diamondbacks
Jose Reyes, Marlins
Jose Altuve, Astros (My Choice)
Jay Bruce,Reds

American League:
Mark Teixeira, Yankees
Josh Willingham, Twins
Chris Davis, Orioles
Adrian Beltre, Rangers (My Choice)

Phil Hughes: 2011 vs. 2012

Yankees Starting Pitcher Phil Hughes won 18 games and was selected as an All-Star in the 2010 season.  But then his 2011 season was a disappointment going 5-5 with a 5.79 ERA.  Thus far in 2012, Hughes has almost pitched as many innings as he did in all of the 2011 season.

It looked like Hughes might be heading toward another season like 2011 after struggling in his first five starts.  In those five starts he went 1-4 with a 7.48 ERA while never lasting longer than 5 2/3 innings.

But in his last seven starts, he has gone 5-1 with a 3.50 ERA while never lasting any LESS than 5 1/3 innings.  That includes a start where Hughes gave up seven earned runs to the Angels

Hughes has had his ups and downs in his first 12 starts of 2012.  He is currently quite close to his innings pitched from 2011.  So I felt now was a good time to compare the production the Yankees are getting out of him.  Hughes was a former big name prospect, fourth overall on the Baseball America Top 100 in 2007.

Hughes has already pitched 68 innings in 2012.  He did not reach 68 innings pitched in 2011 until September 6.  He finished 2011 with 74.2 innings pitched.

It was well noted during the struggles of Hughes in 2011 that his fastball had lost velocity, specifically in the early part of the season.  But according to Fangraphs, Hughes has regained the average velocity that he had in 2010.

2010:  92.5 mph     2011:  91.3 mph     2012:  92.4mph

Hughes K/9 ratio has skyrocketed from 5.67 in 2011 to 8.34 in 2012.  Also his BB/9 has decreased from 3.25 in 2011 to 2.38 in 2012.  He was worse than league average in both of those statistics in 2011, while he is better than league average in 2012.

In 2011, hitters hit for a .277 average off of Hughes while 2012 hitters are hitting .264 off of him.  The 2012 batting average allowed is still worse than league average, .248, but still it’s an improvement.  The improved walk rate and batting average allowed has resulted in a WHIP improvement of 1.49 to 1.34.

Hughes is stranding more batters on base as well.  His LOB% has dropped from 65.4% in 2011 to 74% in 2012.

One troubling statistic about Hughes in 2012 is that he has allowed a home run in every one of his 12 starts.  He is allowing 1.99 HR/9 which is third highest rate of any innings qualified pitcher as of this posting.

Hitters are making contact slightly less in 2012, 83.3%, than they did in 2011, 86.6%, off of Hughes.  In 2011 his swinging strike percentage was 6.2% and it is currently 7.6% in 2012.

Over Hughes career left handed and right handed hitters have hit for a similar average off of Hughes.  Left handed batters have hit .256 off of Hughes, while the right handed batters have hit .248 over his career.  But he has seen opposite ends of the spectrum in both 2011 and 2012.

2011:     LHB:  .312 avg     RHB:  .234 avg

2012:     LHB:  .195 avg     RHB:  .352 avg

What the leadoff hitter of each inning does usually sets the tone for the rest of that inning.  Hughes has really seen an improvement here.  Hughes has allowed as following over the past two seasons to batters leading off an inning:

2011:  .300 avg     .372 OBP     .429 SLG     .800 OPS

2012:  .212 avg     .288 OBP     .394 SLG     .682 OPS

In 2012 Hughes has yet to allow a stolen base as well.  He allowed six in 2011.

Overall outside the rate of home runs he has allowed, Hughes has improved most areas of his game in hopes of a bounce back season.

 

*Note: Ralph Terry currently holds the New York Yankees record for most home runs allowed, 40, in a single season.  He did that while pitching 298.2 innings in 1962.  If Hughes stays at his current rate of 1.99 HR/9 allowed he will tie that record at 181.1 innings pitched.

**Note about the Note:  Ralph Terry ended that 1962 season with a 23-12 record and 3.19 ERA on his way to being named an All-Star, winning the 1962 World Series MVP, and being 14th in regular season MVP voting.

 

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A.J. Burnett’s Comeback Season

On February 19 the New York Yankees traded A.J. Burnett and cash to the Pittsburgh Pirates for minor league RHP Diego Moreno and minor league OF Exicardo Cayones.  The Yankees came into the 2012 season thinking they had plenty of pitching depth, and with Burnett’s struggles over the past two seasons (21-26, 5.20 ERA) he became the odd man out.

Given he has only made five starts in his new home in 2012, Burnett has outside of one start great numbers.  The following table shows his total numbers with the Yankees and his first five starts with the Pirates.

Year Tm W L ERA G GS CG SHO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2012 PIT 1 2 5.12 5 5 0 0 31.2 33 18 18 3 7 31 1.263 9.4 0.9 2.0 8.8 4.43
NYY (3 yrs) 34 35 4.79 99 98 2 0 584.0 587 332 311 81 258 513 1.447 9.0 1.2 4.0 7.9 1.99
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/14/2012.

Your numbers say what you have done.  It is what you are at a certain spot in time, but when summed up it does not always tell the whole story.  Burenett has not pitched a full season yet so the the full sample size can be easily effected by one outcome.  Here is Burnett’s 2012 game log:

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP ERA BF Pit Str StL StS GB FB LD PU GSc SB CS AB 2B 3B GDP
1 Apr 21 PIT STL W,2-0 W(1-0) 7.0 3 0 0 2 7 0 0 0.00 25 76 53 15 7 10 6 4 0 76 0 0 23 0 0 1
2 Apr 27 PIT @ ATL L,1-6 L(1-1) 6.0 6 2 2 3 8 0 0 1.38 27 94 57 15 12 6 10 6 1 57 1 0 23 0 0 0
3 May 2 PIT @ STL L,3-12 L(1-2) 2.2 12 12 12 1 2 2 1 8.04 22 72 41 10 6 10 8 6 0 -13 1 0 19 0 1 1
4 May 8 PIT WSN W,5-4 8.0 6 2 2 1 10 1 0 6.08 29 93 64 20 14 12 6 4 0 71 0 0 28 1 0 2
5 May 13 PIT HOU W,3-2 8.0 6 2 2 0 4 0 0 5.12 30 103 73 15 9 14 12 2 2 66 0 0 30 1 0 1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/14/2012.

On May 2, 2012 he was not good.  He allowed 12 earned runs while only getting 7 outs.  Other than that start, all his other starts have been quality starts.  Also when you take that one start out of the equation his season pitching line would look like this: 29ip 21h 6r 29k 6bb 1hr (1-1, 1.86 ERA).  The Pirates should be happy with the 4.83 K/BB and 7.25 inning pitched per start they have gotten from him in those outings.

According to Fangraphs thus far in 2012, he is getting ground balls at a higher rate, 54.8 percent, than he ever did in New York.  His average fastball velocity has remained comparable to its average the past two years so it not like his stuff has gotten all of a sudden better.  It all comes down to control.

Burnett is currently sitting at an all-time low for himself at 2.0 BB/9.  The biggest difference in my opinion is that he is getting ahead of hitters at an all-time personal best rate.  He is throwing a first pitch strike 65.4 percent of the time.  For his career has thrown a first pitch strike 57.7 percent of the time.  That 7.7 percent difference could mean all the difference in the world for Burnett.

I Split PA AB H HR BB SO SO/BB BA OBP SLG OPS
After 1-0 3671 2983 806 102 610 646 1.06 .270 .396 .435 .832
After 0-1 3731 3435 700 69 223 1176 5.27 .204 .259 .314 .573
Batter Ahead 3193 2301 710 102 833 272 0.33 .309 .491 .520 1.012
Even Count 2907 2793 687 77 0 573 .246 .257 .383 .640
Pitcher Ahead 2412 2362 422 27 0 977 .179 .188 .258 .446
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/14/2012.

The average that batters hit off of him after a first pitch strike is .204, compare that to the .270 average after he gets behind 1-0 in the count.  The OPS difference stands out even more.  When Burnett throws a first pitch strike he allows a .573 OPS.  When Burnett does not throw a first pitch strike he allows a .832 OPS.

In 2012, hitters are 0-19 in the 0-2 count vs Burnett.  Baseball has its way of regressing people to their level over time so Burnett’s production should probably drop off, to a point.  With the statistics Burnett is putting up right now it would not surprise me to see an ERA at the end of the year in the 3.80-4.30 range (Especially if he stays in the National League).

If the Pirates fall out of the playoff race and Burnett is still pitching well, you should expect to hear his name brought up before the trade deadline.

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