The Baseball Savant

where sabermetrics & betting collide with our national pasttime

How Does A.J. Burnett’s Injury Affect Pittsburgh’s Chances?

This past Wednesday, newly acquired starting pitcher A.J. Burnett was bunting balls for the Pirates when an errant ball came back and hit him in the eye causing an orbital fracture! Talk about bad luck! Burnett had surgery on Friday to repair the damage and now reports are that he’ll be on the shelf for 2-3 months. It’s a pretty significant blow for Pittsburgh. I think heading into the season most people would agree that the Bucs are behind Cincinnati, Milwaukee, & St. Louis, but ahead of Chicago & Houston. The Pirates are seen more as a team with potential if everything falls right. A big part of that potential was wrapped up in Burnett and Erik Bedard being able to stay relatively healthy. Even if this doesn’t have anything to do with his arm, Burnett has already had one set back and if he’s out for 2-3 months, then the earliest Pittsburgh can expect him back is May meaning he’ll miss a month of games or at least 4-6 starts. If Burnett is on the long side of recover then a 3-month period puts him back in a Pirates uniform in June which means he’s most likely to miss around 9-11 starts! That’s significant.

Interestingly enough, there hasn’t been any movement in Pittsburgh’s lines due to Burnett’s injury. According to BetUS they are still +6000 to win the World Series and still +1800 to win the NL Central. While you certainly wouldn’t take the +6000 for Pittsburgh to wind up World Series champions, I didn’t think it was an awful play to take the +1800 to win the Central. In my post about Division Winners, I said this about Pittsburgh at +1800:

The rest of the division shouldn’t play much of a factor, but if you are betting long shots then Pittsburgh isn’t a bad one to go for. They brought in Erik Bedard on an incentive laden contract & then traded for AJ Burnett. Those two guys come with enough caution to think neither will work out in the Steel City, but if fate throws the Bucs a bone, Pittsburgh could potentially have enough offense to scare some teams with a rotation anchored by Bedard, Burnett, Kevin Correia & James McDonald.

Burnett is a big part of that picture. Without him for 4-11 starts is enough for me to think I’d now pass on Pittsburgh at +1800. Admittedly it was a long shot to begin with, but now it seems practically impossible.


March 3, 2012 - Posted by | A.J. Burnett, Pittsburgh Pirates

1 Comment »

  1. I agree. I thought if everything broke right, the Bucs might be a surprisingly competitive team. This is an ominous start.

    Comment by Baseball Donkey | March 4, 2012 | Reply

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