Today, we're adding Sean Burnett to our list of 25-man roster locks.
Why?: After starting his career as a starting pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2004, Burnett disappeared into the minors for the next 3 seasons. After 2 seasons of failed starting in AAA Indianapolis, Burnett was converted into a bullpen role. After posting good numbers in Pittsburgh in 2009, he came to DC and lived up to his average expectations. But in 2010, he exploded. He appeared in 73 games and posted an unbelievable 2.14 ERA. The success of the 'pen revolved around Burnett as the season progressed, making him an indispensable part of that group.
What to expect?: This lefty specialist who had trouble getting lefties out in 2010 has little to prove after an otherwise outstanding season. Burnett should easily land a few saves this year, perhaps even in double digits as he shares the duties with Tyler Clippard and closer-of-the-future Drew Storen. It's also a pretty fair assumption that Burnett will figure out how to be a little bit better against lefties in 2011.
My bold prediction: Sean will wear his hat straight at some point this season. Count on it.