2013 A.J. Burnett vs 2015 Gerrit Cole: Who Had the Better Season?

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ST LOUIS, MO – OCTOBER 03: Starting pitcher A.J. Burnett #34 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game One of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium on October 3, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO – OCTOBER 03: Starting pitcher A.J. Burnett #34 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches against the St. Louis Cardinals during Game One of the National League Division Series at Busch Stadium on October 3, 2013 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

2013 A.J. Burnett

In 2013, Burnett finished the year with a 3.30 ERA, 2.80 FIP, and 1.22 WHIP in191 innings of work. He struck out 209 batters, and led the league in K/9 at 9.8. He finished 9th in strikeout rate with a 26.1% mark. That tied him with Chris Sale, Stephen Strasburg, and placed him well ahead of Justin Verlander (23.5%).

Burnett also had strong control. He had a 3.2 BB/9 and 8.4% walk percentage. Opponents had a hard time even touching Burnett’s pitches. They managed a 7.8 hits/9, and .231/.304/.335 line vs the right-hander.

Burnett was also very good at keeping the ball on the ground. The veteran right-hander carried a strong 56.5% ground ball rate. That was the 2nd lowest in all of baseball, and the lowest among all National League pitchers. His 0.52 HR/9 rate was the 5th lowest in all of baseball. In terms of batted ball results, opponents only made hard contact with Burnett 28.7% of the time, which was around league average, and made soft contact a solid, but unspectacular, 16.5% of the time. However, his medium contact rate of 54.8% was also very good.

In terms of adjusted ERA stats, Burnett was in the top-tier of pitchers. His 3.03 SIERA was 10th in the Majors. He was just ahead of the late, great Jose Fernandez (3.15) and just behind 2013 National League Cy Young Award winner Clayton Kershaw (2.99). He also posted a strong 2.96 DRA, which actually put him on par with 2013  American League Cy Young Award winner, Max Scherzer (2.90), and better than the likes of Cole Hamels (3.18), Jordan Zimmerman (3.25), Felix Hernandez (3.04) and David Price (3.02).

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