Here’s Joel Sherman (NY Post) on A.J. Burnett:
He will be 33 in January and likely will be coming off the first time in his career that he has put consecutive 30-start seasons together. Maybe he will still hurl 95 mph heat and devastating curves for a while longer. But what happens when there is some diminishment in his stuff? This is not a pitcher who is going to make up for lost heat with savvy and he has never exhibited finesse. So once the elite stuff falls off a little what is he?
I’ve always thought that age will help Burnett. As his stuff declines, he’ll be forced out of this “throwing” mindset and will have no choice but to reconsider his pitching repertoire and overall style. He has never “exhibited finesse” because he’s never had to, really. In a few years, he’ll have to learn how to pitch intelligently. Sure, having lesser stuff isn’t a good thing—not at all—but it’s not like his talent will fade overnight. Barring injury, it’ll be a gradual process and, for that reason, I think he’ll be able to manage it and evolve accordingly.
What do you think? Will Burnett’s contract become a disaster in 2012 or 2013 because of diminished stuff? I don’t think so, but I’m sure there are varying opinions on the subject. However, most fans are probably worried about injuries rather than a loss of raw talent.
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