- Levi Jared Burton was born in Westminster, SC, where he went to West-Oak HS. He attended Western Carolina University, which has graduated other distinguished Major Leaguers like Mark DiFelice, and... that's about it.
- In 2002, he was drafted by the Oakland A's with their 8th round pick, the 248th overall. It's worth noting that the A's had a pretty decent draft that year, with Burton joining Nick Swisher, Joe Blanton, Mark Teahen, Brad Ziegler, J.R. Towles, Ty Taubenheim, and Jonathan Papelbon in the A's 2002 class. Not bad.
- The Reds drafted O.J. King in the same round. Yep, he never made it past Dayton. The only other Major Leaguer the Reds drafted before Burton was picked was Joey Votto.
- It's also worth noting that he was predominantly a starter in college, and went 7-6 in his final collegiate season, with 105 Ks in 103 innings.
Drafted/Signed: 8th round pick by the Oakland A's
Signed by: Kelly Heath
GM when acquired by Reds: Wayne Krivsky
MLB Service Time (as of Opening Day 2009): 2.0 years
Current Contract Status: Pre-arbitration, renewed 2/21/09
Information courtesy of Josh Kalk's player cards at baseball.bornbybits.com.
Burton relies on his cut fastball most of the time, but mixes in a 4-seam, slider, and change-up less frequently. His fastball gets up into the low 90's, but his off-speed pitches don't offer much of a difference, with his slider and change-up topping out at 87 and 88 respectively. He throws the cutter with such frequency that it's his go-to pitch almost all the time. With two strikes, if he isn't throwing the cutter he likes to throw the change-up to catch the hitter off-guard, and most of the time throws the cutter with 1 strike to set it up.
RR Projected Wins Above Replacement: 0.3
This hot zone graph is modified for pitchers. The notes are at the bottom, but the easy way to read it is that darker areas are areas that the pitcher pitches too most often. And the cooler the color is, the better the hit type (from the pitcher's perspective). So, blue is best because those are areas of low contact. Green is next best because those are batted ball types that tend to be good for the pitcher (ground balls, pop flies). Red is the worst because those types of hits tend to hurt the pitcher the most. Slugging percentage is still listed as well to give you a better idea of the overall results from that zone.
A quick note on Burton. The Pitch FX system has a hard time identifying Burton's pitches, it appears as the overwhelming majority of his pitches are labeled as either a slider or a fastball. I've heard several times that he throws a cutter as well, so Pitch FX appears to be missing those pitches. Since we don't do any fancy pitch identification like Josh Kalk, we are only going by how PItch FX identified the pitches. This is why we're only showing fastballs and sliders.