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Beyond the Limestone

Jared Burton, the case for dismissal.

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It seems that anytime I start reading a thread about the Twins pitching, somehow I end up ranting about Jared Burton. There also seems to be a never ending stream of Jared Burton supporters. I don't understand this. I've decided to take a look a the numbers, and see what I can find.

Jared Burton started out the year with a couple of clunkers and ended April with an ERA of 9.00, hitters had a .286/.419/.543 line agaisnt him, good for a wOBA of .317. Ouch! He surrended 3 home runs, and 9 runs total in his 9 innings of work while striking out only 5 of the 43 batters he faced while walking 8. (8.97 FIP, 6.51 xFIP)

May was by far the best month for Burton. In 12.2 innings of work he posted a 4.26 ERA, but held batters to .245/.275/.396 for a .283 wOBA. He struck out 10 of 51 batters and gave up only 2 walks and a single home run. He went 1-1 with 3 holds for the month and lowered his ERA to 6.23. (3.00 FIP, 4.12 xFIP)

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June has bee hit or miss for Burton, but Gardenhire and company continue to run him out to pitch. He recorded a save this afternoon, an outing, had I been managing, he never would have made. So far in June Burton has a 3.86 ERA in 9.1 innings pitched, but a less impressive 1.29 WHIP for the month. He has surrendered 4 runs, 5 walks and a HR to go with 8 K's. Unfortunately, things look a little less rosy when you look deeper at the numbers. He's held hitters to .200 BA, but has allowed them on base at a .324 clip, slugging .406 for a .327 wOBA. His ERA for the year is down to 5.52. What's the upside to keeping this guy? A reliever with a 4ish ERA who has looked overmatched for most of the season, especially against opposite handed batters doesn't belong in the bullpen for a team who's hoping to contend as the summer progresses.

For those that say he's been good lately, there's some truth here as June has been good for him despite giving up multiple runs in 2 of his 10 outings. But if we look at the last 30 days of work from Burton things are not so good as his ERA then balloons to 5.68.

Even more unsettling is his work in high leverage situations. According to Fangraphs, he's pitching to the tune of .215/.329/.391 in low leverage situations, .250/.294/.500 in medium leverage situations and a disgusting .368/.429/.526 in high level situations.

We see the same trend when we look at his numbers with men on base. With the bases empty he's a respectable .183/.300/.367, but with men on it's .321/.377/.527 and with men in scoring position a laughabale .342/.375/.622, that's a .410 wOBA! Yikes!

If you're clammoring to keep Jared Burton because he's been able to put up essentially a 4.0 ERA for his last 10 outings, I think you're trying to hold on to memories of Jared Burton from 2 years ago. Lefties are killing him this season (.283/.411/.413, .374wOBA).

Help me understand what he's doing well that the Twins should continue to rely on him to pitch meaningfull innings. Heck, I'd be happy if you can convice me he's worth a 25-man roster spot.

What's your case to keep Burton?
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Comments

  1. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
    KV, should we then discount his first 28 outings of the season and assume the last 5 are the ones that matter?

    He's been a trainwreck this season. He can't get lefties out with consistency, and he's been putting way to many guys on base. Yes, his June numbers are improved, but what value does he provide even if he can pitch to a 4ish ERA for the rest of the season? There are half a dozen guys in the Rochester bullpen pitching better than that.
  2. curt1965's Avatar
    Well said, gentlemen!
  3. Hosken Bombo Disco's Avatar
    I'd bet his odds are greater than 50-50 that he implodes at some point, but for now he's doing ok.

    It was actually about this time last year he had that awful game against the Yankees, and we have the Yankees coming to town in a couple weeks, so brace yourself for what's to come.
  4. jtkoupal's Avatar
    I too have gotten over Burton. He is much too inconsistent. He has good stuff, but he is too hit-or-miss. I agree that there are a handful of guys in AAA Rochester who deserve a roster spot more than Jared does.
  5. Paul Pleiss's Avatar
    Brandon, I think we've gone just about every which way on Burton, mostly in the thread about this post over on the forums, so I wont rehash that here.

    Thanks to all of you for stopping over to enjoy my writing, or to disagree. The discussion, more than winning or losing, is the fun part for me.
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