Pittsburgh Pirates: Examining Three Players on the Hall of Fame Ballot

CHICAGO - 1990: Barry Bonds of the San Pittsburgh Pirates bats during an MLB game versus the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois during the 1990 season. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
CHICAGO - 1990: Barry Bonds of the San Pittsburgh Pirates bats during an MLB game versus the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois during the 1990 season. (Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Pirates, AJ Burnett
(Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images) /

A.J. Burnett

A.J. Burnett was a fan favorite pitcher during his time with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Fondly known as “Batman”,” Burnett helped bring winning baseball back to the Steel City.

The Pirates acquired Burnett in a salary dump deal with the New York Yankees. During his first two years with the Bucs, Burnett was very effective. He tossed a total of 393.1 innings to the tune of a 3.41 ERA, 3.17 FIP and 1.22 WHIP. Burnett had a strong 0.7 HR/9 rate while posting a solid 7.8% walk rate and 23.5% strikeout rate. He also led all pitchers in K/9 during 2013 at 9.8.

Burnett signed a one-year deal for the 2014 season with a 2015 player option with the Phillies. Despite struggling in Philly, he turned down the $15 million option so he could end his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2015. Though Burnett pitched in an injury limited 164 innings, his 2015 season was his most memorable. He posted a 3.18 ERA, 3.36 FIP and 1.36 WHIP with the Bucs. While he only had a 20.5% strikeout rate, his walk rate remained relatively strong a 7%. But he made the first and only All-Star Game of his career. Sadly, he did not appear during the game.

Burnett had a solid career, one that lasted from 1999 to 2015. He pitched a total of 2731.1 innings with the Florida Marlins, Toronto Blue Jays, Yankees, Pirates and Phillies. His final career numbers include a 3.99 ERA, 3.86 FIP, 1.32 WHIP, 2513 strikeouts and a 29.6 bWAR. In terms of the eras he pitched in, the right hander had a 104 ERA+, 97 ERA- and 92 FIP-. Aside from the one All-Star Game, Burnett also has a World Series ring, one he earned with the 2009 New York Yankees.

Burnett’s chances of making the Hall of Fame are slim to none. While he was an above average pitcher throughout his entire career, his bWAR is 290th all time. The only two starting pitchers who have a lower bWAR than him and in the Hall are two way player John Ward who had a 28.1 bWAR as a pitcher combined with a 34.3 bWAR as a position player and some guy named Babe Ruth. On the ballot, his JAWS is the 4th lowest at 25.3. While he might not earn a plaque in Cooperstown, that won’t stop Pirate fans from having some extremely fond memories of his time in Pittsburgh.

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