Early in Tuesday’s game, when A.J. Burnett was routinely hitting 95 mph on the Yankee Stadium radar gun to get swings and misses with his fastball, Paul O’Neill wondered aloud why A.J. wouldn’t consider taking a page from Bartolo Colon‘s book and going through a few innings throwing only fastballs. The answer to Paulie’s question is that, while Bartolo has one of the best fastballs in baseball, A.J. has one of the worst. In fact, Burnett’s fastball is worth -1.15 runs for every 100 he throws, which is dead last in the AL among all qualified pitchers — pitchers, not starters, but pitchers — and fourth worst in all of baseball. Only Ryan Dempster, Brett Myers, and Bronson Arroyo have worse fastballs, on a rate basis, than A.J. does among qualified players. So, to answer O’Neill’s question, the reason why Burnett should never, ever go an entire inning, let alone innings, throwing only his fastball is because his fastball is a horrible pitch.
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