Saturday, March 12, 2011

25 in 25: Sean Burnett (#7)

In 19 days, all the Nationals diehards will be preparing to head to Nationals Park on Opening Day. Until then, we're going to predict the 25 man roster. With one catch. We're going to do it one day at a time. This way, we can provide more in depth thoughts on who we think is going to make the roster, why we think so, and what to expect from them in 2011. On the morning of Opening Day, we'll post the real 25-man compared with what we predicted.

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.

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