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jorgenswest

Burton: What's is the Future for a 31 Year Old Set Up Man?

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I was surprised at the suggestion earlier that the Twins should consider extending Burton. They have him locked up next year. In two years he will be 33. On the other hand, he has been very valuable this year.

My first thought was it was a horrible idea. Take his season next year at the bargain level. Don't buy his 33 year old season now! That was clearly the minority opinion.

I went to Baseball Reference for clarity. I searched for every season pitched by a 31 year old set up man from 2000-2010. I sought pitchers with a workload of at least 60 games. I eliminated closers as they have a different work load. I eliminated guys with ERAs over 4 as most were on their way out of baseball. I found 28 pitchers. I eliminated pitchers jailed for attempted murder in their home country and was down to 27.

This is their aggregate data in their 31 through 33 year old season.

Age W L ERA G GS SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO BF WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
31 137 109 3.01 1902 0 59 1994 1687 727 666 166 711 99 1654 8256 1.20 7.6 0.7 3.2 7.5 2.3
32 97 95 3.95 1501 32 69 1622 1578 777 711 172 625 94 1326 7019 1.36 8.8 1.0 3.5 7.4 2.1
33 72 77 4.12 979 39 32 1199 1206 592 548 128 433 55 869 5164 1.37 9.1 1.0 3.3 6.5 2.0

The data per pitcher
Age
W
L
ERA
G
GS
SV
IP
H
R
ER
HR
BB
IBB
SO
BF
WHIP
H/9
HR/9
BB/9
SO/9
SO/BB
31
5
4
3.01
70
0
2
74
62
27
25
6
26
4
61
306
1.20
7.6
0.7
3.2
7.5
2.3
32
4
4
3.95
56
1
3
60
58
29
26
6
23
3
49
260
1.36
8.8
1.0
3.5
7.4
2.1
33
3
3
4.12
36
1
1
44
45
22
20
5
16
2
32
191
1.37
9.1
1.0
3.3
6.5
2.0

The drop in ERA is dramatic at 32. The drop in innings is dramatic at 33. Look at he drop in strikeouts.

At age 33, 7 of the 27 pitched 60 games with an ERA under 4. Add one guy who became a starter to make 8 effective pitchers. Braden Looper at age 33 started 33 games and pitched 199 innings skewing the data further. Take him out and the average number of innings pitched falls to 38.

I hope the Twins management is wise enough to keep his marvelous season in perspective. The likelihood of decline is far too great to sign him to an extension when he is already locked up next year.

Isn't the risk of signing him greater than the risk of losing him at age 33?

Updated 10-01-2012 at 08:35 PM by jorgenswest

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Comments

  1. Rosterman's Avatar
    Yes, it is. What is the price of a 33-year-old reliever. Can you find a comparable non-closer. Burton, is, sadly in the make $2-4 million and shut up. He may be given closer duties (think Rauch or Hawkins) but will never get a permanent job at his age....because of track record. A team wouldmore than likely try an upcomer than just reward him with the higher paying job.
  2. Seth Stohs's Avatar
    very nice analysis...
  3. Rick Blaine's Avatar
    "pitchers jailed for murder in their home country"

    It was only attempted murder. You should have included UUU-- just for his initials if nothing else.
  4. jorgenswest's Avatar
    My apologies to the Urbina family.
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