Looking at the Hall-of-Fame Ballot: A.J. Burnett
On face value, I would have a difficult time arguing that A.J. Burnett was a Hall-of-Famer. Still, I am determined to give each player on the ballot a fair look.
Let’s do just that with A.J….
A.J. Burnett pitched in the big leagues for 17 seasons.
A.J. Burnett struck out more than 2,500 batters (2,513 to be exact).
Of recent vintage, the pitcher who is widely considered the least qualified member of the Hall-of-Fame is Jack Morris. Jack Morris’ All-Time WAR was 43.5. That makes Jack Morris the 153rd best starting pitcher of all-time.
The 153rd best doesn’t necessarily scream out “Hall-of-Famer.” Of course there are some who I argue still belong even if they don’t have the highest of WARs – Catfish Hunter, for example, who has a lifetime WAR of just 40.9.
WAR isn’t everything. It’s a lot, but it isn’t everything.
I feel there is a compelling case for Catfish to be in the Hall-of-Fame, Jack Morris less so, but this is about A.J. How does he rate?
A.J. Burnett was not in the top 200.
A.J. Burnett was not in the top 300.
But he was close…he’s 301st all-time.
A.J., Burnett was an All-Star just once.
He never won 20-games in a season and won 18 games only once. His next highest totals were 16 and then 13. It does downhill from there.
None of the most similar players to A.J. Burnett are in the Hall-of-Fame or would be considered close to the Hall-of-Fame. In fact, the player most similar to A.J. Burnett for his career is… Javier Vasquez, and that’s sort of appropriate.
Both of those guys were right-handed pitchers who came to the Yankees with some high hopes and neither really fulfilled their promise.
A.J. Burnett won 164 Major League games. That’s something. He had a nice career. He was a World Champion in 2009 with the Yankees. He has a lot to be proud of.
He’s just not a Hall-of-Famer.