AJ Burnett, Joba Chamberlain & Other Yankees Ready to Come Down to Earth
When baseball players fall into the same insufficient pattern season after season, it is difficult for fans to believe they can rise above and perform to their full potential as players.
Going into the 2011 season, fans had difficulty believing that the New York Yankees would be able to possess a starting rotation with the qualities of consistency, power and domination—especially after losing ace Andy Pettitte. The same goes for relievers and designated hitters who are better known for their inability to contribute to wins than their noteworthy performances on the field.
Although players such as Russell Martin and Bartolo Colon are playing brilliantly compared to previous seasons, it may unfortunately only be a matter of time until they go back to their less than spectacular ways.
No. 6: Joba Chamberlain
Joba Chamberlain began his baseball career as a consistent and powerful reliever.
In his 2007 debut season, Chamberlain posted an outstanding 0.38 ERA in 24 innings pitched, allowing only twelve hits, one home run and two runs.
His success continued in 2008, recording a 2.60 ERA. Chamberlain allowed 87 hits, 32 runs and 21 home runs in 100.1 innings pitched.
His consistency as a pitcher ended there. In 2009, Chamberlain proved that he was unworthy of being a starting pitcher, as the team sent him back to the bullpen.
However, Chamberlain has finally been able to show some promise this season, getting his speed into the mid 90s. In 23.1 innings pitched, Chamberlain allowed 18 hits, 10 runs, three home runs and maintains a 3.47 ERA.
Finally feeling comfortable on the mound, can Joba’s success continue?
Most likely not. Between the countless times Chamberlain has let his team down and his inconsistency as a pitcher, Joba should be coming back to earth at any moment.
No. 5: Russell Martin
Coming off of a .248 batting average for the 2010 season, Russell Martin began the 2011 season strong, maintaining a .328 batting average—one of the highest batting averages on the team.
Unfortunately, Martin’s remarkable season start has been declining as the hitter now maintains a .271 batting average. In 129 at-bats, Martin has blasted 35 hits, 21 runs, six doubles, eight home runs and 24 RBI.
In his six seasons, Martin has yet to reach over the .300 batting average mark, proving that Martin has already begun to come down to earth and is following his mediocre batting average trend.
No. 4: Freddy Garcia
Freddy Garcia has pitched average in his 13 seasons as a pitcher. Expecting him pitch as he did in 2010 with a 4.64 ERA, Garcia has showed a large amount of promise this season.
In seven starts and 43.1 innings pitched, Garcia has allowed only 39 hits, 16 runs, seven home runs, has a 1.292 WHIP and has managed to maintain an impressive 3.12 ERA for the season.
As much as I would like Garcia to continue maintaining a 3.12 ERA, that may be difficult—especially since Garcia has been unable to pitch as well as he did in 2005, ending that season with a 3.87 ERA.
No. 3: Chris Dickerson
Chris Dickerson was never a hitter opposing pitchers were fearful of. In his four seasons, Dickerson has recorded a .268 batting average with 123 hits, 62 runs, 24 doubles, seven triples and eight home runs in 459 at bats.
However, Dickerson has certainly turned things around in his first few at-bats with the New York Yankees.
In five at-bats this season, Dickerson has posted an incredible .400 batting average with two hits and an RBI. Despite his contributions so far, it is still incredibly early for the hitter who has only been at bat five times. Unless he keeps this up, he will most likely return to his .200 batting average ways.
No. 2: Bartolo Colon
When hearing that Bartolo Colon would fill in one of the two remaining spots for the Yankees starting rotation, I was not thrilled.
Recording a 5.01 ERA for the 2004 season, a 5.11 for 2006 and a 6.34 for 2007, Colon has had his share of ups and down throughout his career.
In his 2009 season, Colon posted a 4.19 ERA, allowing 42 runs, 69 hits and 13 home runs in 62.1 innings pitched. His yearlong break in 2010 because of personal issues and his increasing age (now 37 years old) did not relieve my worries either.
Despite everything working against him, Colon has proven that his age and an inconsistent career has had no effect on his current performance, as he is still able to pitch to his full potential.
So far, in 51.1 innings pitched, Colon has posted a 3.16 ERA, has allowed only 20 runs, 47 hits, seven home runs and has a WHIP of 1.130.
Although it is time for Colon to come back down to earth, his outstanding performance early into the season gives me hope that the Yankees dominate starting rotation will continue to prosper.
No. 1: AJ Burnett
Time after time, AJ Burnett has let down his team and his fans.
We all remember Burnett’s disgraceful performance in 2010. In 186.2 innings pitched, Burnett allowed 204 hits, 118 runs, 25 home runs and walked away with a 5.26 ERA. In June of 2010, Burnett recorded a brutal 11.35 ERA.
If anyone thought Burnett would turn it around for the 2010 postseason, they were incredibly wrong. Although slightly better than his June catastrophe, Burnett recorded a 7.50 ERA in only six innings pitched. He allowed six hits, five runs and one home run.
However, Burnett has entered the 2011 season pitching as if he is a completely different person.
In 62.2 innings pitched, Burnett has allowed 53 hits, 32 runs, nine home runs and has maintained a 4.02 ERA. His previous weakness of allowing the game to get out of control has subsided, as he has now been able to end the inning without losing control of the game.
Although Burnett is playing well as of the moment, he should be going back to his old ways any day now. After all, he did start off the 2010 season well, recording a 3.28 ERA through May. I think we all know how the 2010 season turned out.
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