A.J. in PNC vs. A.J. in Philly

PNC Park is more friendly to pitchers than it is to hitters. Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia is just the opposite. That difference led me to wonder how A.J. Burnett‘s 2013 performance would have been affected if he had been pitching for his new team in 2013 rather than his old team. And the results surprised me.

Citizen’s Bank does make a difference in home runs, walks, and strikeouts in comparison to PNC Park, but the overall results might be very similar.

I used the Park Factors Chart on Fangraphs to estimate what A.J. Burnett’s 2013 numbers as a Pirate would have been if his home field had been Citizens Bank Park rather than PNC Park.

Burnett 2013 PNC  /  Burnett 2013 Citizens Bank

HR/9: 0.52  /  0.61

K/9:   9.85  /  10.5

BB/9: 3.16  /  3.32

FIP:   2.80  /  2.84

xFIP:  2.92  /  2.99

Citizens Bank Park would have inflated Burnett’s home runs and walks, but it would also have increased his strikeouts. And the net result of the individual amounts of those increases, would have been to keep Burnett’s FIP and xFIP just about the same as it was in Pittsburgh.

It seems that pitching at Citizens Bank is not likely to damage Burnett’s overall results. But the same cannot be said for pitching with the Phillies fielders behind him.

Philadelphia had a team UZR of 65.9 runs below average. The Pirates defenders were 4.4 runs above average.

That difference in UZR is also reflected in the two teams’ Batting Averages on Balls in play. Phillie pitchers had a .306 BABIP. Pirate Pitchers had a .285 BABIP. Part of that difference in BABIP is just luck. But not all of it. Pirates fielders were able to get to a lot more batted balls and turn them into outs than were Philadelphia’s glove-men.

Given that Burnett has become a pretty extreme groundball pitcher (56.5% last year), he is likely to suffer some damage at the stony hands of Phillie fielders.

Another danger for Burnett is Philadelphia’s reluctance to use defensive shifts. If they refuse to put their fielders in the spots where the batter most often hits the ball . . .

. . . A.J. Burnett is going to miss “The Two Clints” a lot more than he will miss PNC Park.





172 thoughts on “A.J. in PNC vs. A.J. in Philly

  1. I, for one, would really haved liked to see AJ back in a Pirate uniform this year. I do think he will be missed. He eats up innings and his stats were pretty darn good. I think they made a mistake by not offering him the $14.1 qualifying offer.

  2. Bottom line….. this team is worse today than it was at the beginning of last season and much worse than the end of last season…….PERIOD.

    And as far as bashing another poster with an entire column….
    your ‘facts’ about Daquido are as inaccurate as your baseball ‘facts’. You can’t even get his name right! you were better off pestering Smizik and being Charlie’s yes man

    • Do you realize that Jonathan Sanchez and James McDonald consisted of 2/5 off the starting rotation and John McDonald, Michael McKenry, and Chris LeRoux were on the 2013 Pirates at the beginning of the year? Do you realize that Garrett Jones and Travis Snider were starting for the 2013 Pirates at the beginning of the year? Do you realize that Brandon Inge was added to the roster 3 weeks into the season? Those are FACTS, of which I noticed you had known in your post.

      Now go along and take your baseless ‘the sky is falling’ BS back to the Zombie Squad where thought is not a requirement.

        • Dissent is great. Actual dissent generally provokes new thoughts. However one should at least attempt to use at least a single fact when posting a comment complaining about others not using facts.

          • I do appreciate greatly appreciate when person posts facts that support his opinion – especially when he disagrees with me. I could learn something and even change my mind. That happened just yesterday. I posted on Bob Smizik’s site that A.J. Burnett had a 4.19 xFIP in the 3 seasons prior to coming to Pittsburgh and that Edinson xFIP the last 3 seasons has been 4.12. Another poster reminded me that Burnett had pitched in the American League and that might have adversely affected his xFIP. I looked it up and found that Burnett’s league and park adjusted xFIP was one percent better than average, while Volquez’s was 7% below average.

    • I think they are a better team than the one that started the season in April, but not quite a good as the team that finished the season in October (minus AJ Burnett and Marlon Bryd).

        • That is an odd comparison to make though since the October 2013 version had in season call ups and late season trades and the February 2014 version will not have all those moves for another 5-6 months.

          • True. I’m hopeful that improvements to the roster will be made between now and October. And Huntington has certainly done that in each of the past three seasons.

        • My thoughts on October to February roster comparisons:

          I think that is a flawed way to compare a baseball team. You are basically taking a snapshot of two separate days and trying to compare the two rosters. That’s not how baseball works. How can an accurate comparison be made like that when a baseball a baseball season is 162 games?
          The legendary Marte, McCutchen, Byrd outfield played 6 games together during the 2013 regular season. That is SIX of 162 games. That is 3.7% of a season.

          The Burnett, Liriano, Cole, Morton, Locke rotation did not exist until mid-June.

          Here are the records of the 2013 Pirates with the 2 players you mentioned;

          Games played with Byrd: 17-13, .567 winning percentage.
          Games played without Byrd: 77-55, .583 winning percentage.
          Games pitched by Burnett: 14-16, .467 winning percentage.
          Games not pitched by Burnett: 80-52, .606 winning percentage.

          We are talking about 2 guys that played only 30 games each.

          If we are going to compare snapshots then you are really removing October 2013 AJ Burnett who was awful and October 2013 Marlon Byrd who was great. Seems like a wash with the snapshot comparison.

          The best 25 man roster last year for the Pirates rarely played together, therefore they could not have won may games since they did not play many.

          Baseball teams have to be looked at beyond even the 25 man rosters as many more players than that contribute to a season. To me the 2014 Pirates will have a deeper and more talented player pool to choose from than the 2013 Pirates.

          If you want to compare the October 2013 Pirates, wait for the October 2014 Pirates for an accurate comparison.

          • I’m not seeing where we disagree. I do believe that the current roster is not as good as the October roster that had Burnett and Byrd, but it doesn’t have to be. Things will change during the season and the current roster IS better than the April 2013 roster.

            And I certainly agree that the only accurate comparison of the October 2013 roster must wait until October 2014.

            Thanks for doing the research on the records with Byrd and Burnett. Also, a good point about the Marte/McCutchen/Byrd outfield only playing 6 games together. That tells me that Tabata did a pretty good job alongside McCutchen and Byrd and is likely to do the same with McCutchen and Marte.

    • It’s good to hear from you, BFD! I will correct the facts about Daquido if you tell me which ones I got wrong.

      The man lied about me and this blog, in front of people who read my work. I had to respond.

      I invited Daquido, via his Twitter page, to reply to my response. I don’t know whether he received that message, but I would be pleased to hear from him regarding my response to his accusations.

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