Saturday, April 23, 2005

Sean Burnett Report

Sean Burnett, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates
Drafted 19th Overall, 2000 Draft, HS, Wellington, FL
Bats L/Throws L
22 YO, 6'1", 170 lbs

Burnett's a command lefty who lost his command and then joined the Tommy John club late in the year. He never has had a blazing fastball or a flashy strikeout rate, but his high 80's fastball has some sink to it, and in the past it has ventured up into the low 90's. He also has a great changeup and a good slider when he's healthy. However, he's out for at least most of the year after his elbow surgery.

2004 Nashville: 5.36 ERA, 25 K, 17 BB, 58 H, 5 HR, 47 IP
2004 Pittsburgh: 5.02 ERA, 30 K, 28 BB, 86 H, 9 HR, 71 IP
mL Career: 2.87 ERA, 365 K, 115 BB, 529 H, 11 HR, 554 IP

I'm really not sure of what to make of him at this point. It was tough to nail down exactly how his game would transfer to the majors BEFORE 2004. His walk rate doubled and his ERA ballooned accordingly. Was that all because of the injury, or was there some real regression when faced with better hitters? There's some circumstantial evidence indicating that elbow problems can degrade command and control. But is that what happened here? Is there something else to it? Will he ever recover that command? Even if he does, will he ever get enough strikeouts and groundouts to be effective in the show? Because of all these questions, Burnett probably has about as wide a range of possible outcomes as any player you'll ever run across. He could turn into a late blooming Mark Buehrle clone or he could be out of baseball by 30. He could be Doug Davis, or a situational lefty, or a AAAA tweener.

ETA: 2006
3 Stars

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