Nick Nelson

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Burnett Goes For Two

Friday, June 29, 2012

After a few tumultuous seasons in New York, A.J. Burnett was hoping for a fresh start when he was dealt to the Pirates in February.

Fantasy owners who have been frustrated by the mercurial right-hander collectively groaned when he was lit up by the Cardinals in his third start this year for Pittsburgh, surrendering 12 runs in just 2 2/3 innings. "Same old A.J."

Except, as it turns out, that start has been the only road bump in an otherwise resurgent season for Burnett. In his 12 other turns on the rubber, he's delivered 10 quality starts and a 2.05 ERA. Only twice all season (including that disastrous outing in St. Louis) has Burnett allowed more than two runs in a start. He's working with his lowest walk rate since 2006 and he's uncorked only three wild pitches after leading the league with 25 a year ago.

Whether it's the reduced difficulty level in the National League, or strides made with new pitching coach Ray Searage, Burnett has turned a corner with his control and as a result he's on pace for a career year. He goes twice in the upcoming week, with home match-ups against the Astros and Giants, and he's a highly recommended option.

You can read more about Burnett's bounce-back in D.J. Short's Daily Dose piece from earlier today.

Going Twice…

American League

Strong Plays

Jarrod Parker: BOS (Matsuzaka), SEA (Millwood)
Jered Weaver: @CLE (Jimenez), BAL (Hammel)
Max Scherzer: MIN (Blackburn), KC (Mendoza)
Chris Sale: TEX (Oswalt), TOR (Cecil)
Doug Fister: MIN (Hendriks), KC (Teaford)
Wei-Yin Chen: @SEA (Hernandez), @LAA (Haren)
Jason Hammel: @SEA (Millwood), @LAA (Weaver)

Decent Plays

Brett Cecil: KC (Mendoza), @CWS (Sale)
Ricky Romero: KC (Teaford), @CWS (Floyd)
Roy Oswalt: @CWS (Sale), MIN (Blackburn)
Matt Moore: NYY (Garcia), @CLE (JImenez)
Kevin Millwood: BAL (Hammel), @OAK (Parker)
Ivan Nova: @TB (Shields), @BOS (Morales)
Dan Haren: @CLE (McAllister), BAL (Chen)
Zach McAllister: LAA (Haren), TB (Shields)
Ubaldo Jimenez: LAA (Weaver), TB (Moore)
Franklin Morales: @OAK (Ross), NYY (Nova)
Daisuke Matsuzaka: @OAK (Parker), NYY (Garcia)

At Your Own Risk

Freddy Garcia: @TB (Moore), @BOS (Matsuzaka)
Liam Hendriks: @DET (Fister), @TEX (Darvish)
Nick Blackburn: @DET (Scherzer), @TEX (Oswalt)
Everett Teaford: @TOR (Romero), @DET (Fister)
Luis Mendoza: @TOR (Cecil), @DET (Scherzer)

National League

Strong Plays

Jordan Zimmermann: SF (Lincecum), COL (Friedrich)
Kyle Lohse: COL (White), MIA (Zambrano)
A.J. Burnett: HOU (Keuchel), SF (Lincecum)
James McDonald: HOU (Lyles), SF (Vogelsong)
Vance Worley: @NYM (Niese), ATL (Hanson)
Jon Niese: PHI (Worley), CHC (Samardzija)
Zack Greinke: MIA (Sanchez), @HOU (Keuchel)
Chris Capuano: CIN (Cueto), @ARI (Bauer)
Johnny Cueto: @LAD (Capuano), @SD (Cashner)
Tommy Hanson: CHC (Samardzija), @PHI (Worley)

Decent Plays

Joe Kelly: COL (Francis), MIA (Sanchez)
Tim Lincecum: @WAS (Zimmermann), @PIT (Burnett)
Andrew Cashner: ARI (Bauer), CIN (Cueto)
Marco Estrada: MIA (Zambrano), @HOU (Lyles)
Anibal Sanchez: @MIL (Greinke), @STL (Kelly)
Chad Billingsley: CIN (Bailey), @ARI (Cahill)
Dallas Keuchel: @PIT (Burnett), MIL (Greinke)
Jordan Lyles: @PIT (McDonald), MIL (Estrada)
Homer Bailey: @LAD (Billingsley), @SD (Richard)
Tommy Hanson: CHC (Samardzija), @PHI (Blanton)
Trevor Bauer: SD (Cashner), LAD (Capuano)
Trevor Cahill: SD (Richard), LAD (Billingsley)

At Your Own Risk

Clayton Richard: @ARI (Cahill), CIN (Bailey)
Carlos Zambrano: @MIL (Estrada), @STL (Lohse)
Alex White: @STL (Lohse), @WAS (Strasburg)
Jeff Francis: @STL (Kelly), @WAS (Gonzalez)
Christian Friedrich: @STL (Wainwright), @WAS (Zimmermann)
Jeff Samardzija: @ATL (Hanson), @NYM (Niese)

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Nick Nelson is a frequent contributor to Rotoworld's baseball coverage and regularly blogs about the Minnesota Twins at Twins Daily. Follow him on Twitter @NickNelsonMN.
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