POtW: A.J. Burnett

A.J. Burnett was picked up off the scrap heap after a failed experiment in New York, and all he's done is have his the best season of his career, including two big performances in the past seven days.

Over the past week, Atlanta's Justin Upton has driven in nine RBIs, slugged three homers and three doubles. Over the last seven days, Anaheim's Mike Trout has walked an astounding 13 times, leading the majors in on-base percentage and slugging (he rattled off three doubles and a home run among his nine hits).

But, while the Braves went 7-0, Upton struck out 11 times and wasn't even the hottest hitter on his team (that honor belongs to Chris Johnson ,who's hitting .433 over the past week). Trout went hitless in three straight games and the Angels went 3-4 over the past week.

This week's Player of the Week honor goes to Pittsburgh's A.J. Burnett, who continued his bounce-back season in a big way for the Pirates, tossing 16.0 innings, going 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two Bucs wins, striking out a Major League-best 18.

Only David Price pitched more innings over the past week than Burnett, and even then, only by a single out. Over two starts, Burnett allowed just 11 hits and four walks for a WHIP of 0.94.

On July 30, the 6-foot-4, 230-pounder held the powerful St. Louis Cardinals in check, limiting the Redbirds to just one run over 7.0 innings on just three hits while striking out nine, but the Pirates offense couldn't oblige, scratching out just a first-inning run on a Pedro Alvarez double. The Bucs were able to push across the winning run in the 11th, ensuring at least a series split in the neck-and-neck NL Central battle (Pittsburgh wound up winning three of four).

Burnett didn't leave anything to chance on Sunday against Colorado, going the distance in a 5-1 win over the Rockies, turning in his third quality start in a row. Though Burnett allowed eight hits, he walked just one and fanned nine, upping his season total to 141 K's, 15th in all of baseball. Not bad for a pitcher who was picked off the scrap heap by the Pirates after an 11-loss, 5.15-ERA season for the New York Yankees in 2011.

As of his last start, Burnett is now 5-7, but with a 2.73 ERA and just 48 walks in 2013, with four of his five wins coming within the division.

Previous POWs
July 22-28: Giancarlo Stanton
July 15-21: Juan Lagares
July 8-14: Buster Posey
July 1-7: Clayton Kershaw
June 24-30: Jason Kipnis
June 17-23: Ryan Howard
June 10-16: Carlos Gonzalez
June 3-9: Yasiel Puig
May 26-June 2: Domonic Brown
May 20-26: Mike Trout
May 13-19: Justin Masterson
May 6-12: Evan Longoria
April 29-May 5: Ryan Raburn
April 22-28: Jeff Locke
April 15-21: Mike Trout
April 8-14: Prince Fielder

Ryan Gorcey covers Major League Baseball and publishes for and FOX Sports NEXT. Follow him on twitter at @RGBearTerritory.

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