The Greatest Hits of Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching Wizard Ray Searage

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A.J. Burnett

Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

A.J. Burnett already had a very established track record when he joined the Pirates in 2012, but he was coming off three very poor seasons in New York and the Pirates were able to add him for very cheap. People knew A.J. Burnett was talented, but they could not figure out why his numbers were so poor as a Yankee.

The first big change for Burnett was attacking the inner third of the plate. He went from averaging inside pitches on 34 percent of pitches to over 40 percent of his pitches as a member of the Pirates. He also started throwing his change-up way less often and completely dropped the cutter from his repertoire. This lead to an A.J. Burnett that could still get strike outs when needed, but wasn’t afraid to pound the strike zone and pitch to contact. With the change in his pitching, Burnett became the Pirates’ ace in 2012 and 2013 and he also became a folk hero because of his outgoing and outrageous attitude

WAR Totals before Searage: 2010: -0.8, 2011: 0.8

WAR Totals w/ Searage: 2012: 2.2; 2013: 1.7; 2015:2.4 *in progress

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  • Threw pitches on the inner third of the plate more often.
    • 34.3% of time in 2010-2011 (With New York Yankees)
    • 40.4% of time in 2012-2013 (With Pittsburgh Pirates)
  • Between 2011 and 2012 threw change-up less often.
    • 2011: .324AVG/.444OBP/.459SLG/.904SLG/159wRC+
    • 2012: Threw Only 180 times compared to 290 in 2011.
    • 2013: Threw change up only 175 times.
  • Beginning in 2012 he dropped the cutter from his pitch repertoire. In 2011 MLB hit: .279AVG/.377OBP/.628SLG/1.005OPS/175wRC+

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