A.J. Burnett, Starting Pitcher
Date of Birth: 1/3/1977
Birthplace: North Little Rock, Arkansas
A.J. Burnett, starting pitcher, was first drafted by the New York Mets in 1995 but he only played in their minor league system before they traded him in 1998 to the Florida Marlins. He spent two years in the Marlins' minor league system before being called up in 1997 to pitch in seven games for them. The following season, he pitched in 13 games for the Marlins.
In 2001, his first full season as a starting pitcher with the Marlins, Burnett pitched 173.1 innings in 27 games and he had an 11-12 win-loss record with a 4.05 ERA. On May 12, 2001, he pitched his only no-hitter against the San Diego Padres. The following year, he led the National League in shutouts with five.
After four games in 2003, Burnett ended his season by having Tommy John surgery. He came back in 2004 to pitch in 20 games. The following year, he pitched in 32 games and finished with a 12-12 record and a 3.44 ERA. At the end of September, 2005, Burnett was involved in controversy when he publicly criticized the Marlins organization. As a result of his outspokenness, he was asked to leave the team.
In December, 2005, Burnett signed a five-year, $55 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays. He had his best season three years later when he led the American League in strikeouts. In 2008, he had career highs in games played (35), innings pitched (221.1), wins (18 to 10 losses), and strikeouts (231 to 86 walks).
Burnett became a free agent after the 2008 season and he signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the New York Yankees. In his first season with the Yankees, he pitched 207.0 innings in 33 games and he had a 13-9 record with a 4.04 ERA. He did not pitch as well the following season and two years later, in 2011, he had just 11 wins (to 11 losses) and a 5.15 ERA. In February, 2012, the Yankees traded Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In 2013 with the Pirates, Burnett had a career low 3.30 ERA with a 10-11 record and 209 strikeouts to 67 walks in 30 games. He became a free agent after the 2013 season and in February, 2014, he signed a one-year, $15 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. He finished the 2014 season with 213.2 innings pitched, an 8-18 record, 190 strikeouts to 96 walks, and a 4.59 ERA in 34 games.
On November 14, 2014, Burnett returned to the Pirates, agreeing to a one-year, $8.5 million contract for the 2015 season. He spent all of August and the beginning of September, 2015, on the DL with elbow inflammation. He finished the season with a 9-7 record, 143 strikeouts to 49 walks, and a 3.18 ERA in 164.0 innings in 26 games.
Burnett retired from major league baseball after the 2015 season.
Statistics for Burnett in 14 full seasons (2001-2002, 2004-2015) in the major leagues include:
- 9 seasons with 30 or more games, with a high of 35 in 2008
- 6 seasons with over 200 innings pitched, with a high of 221.1 in 2008
- 9 seasons with over 150 strikeouts, with a high of 231 in 2008
Career pitching statistics for Burnett through 2015 include:
- 435 games played
- 2,731.1 innings pitched
- 164-157 win-loss record
- 2,513 strikeouts to 1,100 walks
- 3.99 ERA
Burnett has Gilbert's syndrome, a benign genetic liver defect.
Burnett and his wife Karen have two children.