Jair Francoise Jurrjens, Atlanta Brave — 2008-2012
After Jair Jurrjens gave up 9 hits and 6 runs while recording just 7 outs today, his season ERA climbed to 7.04, and it’s easy to imagine that that might be his last appearance in a Braves uniform. His stuff is flat, he has no command, he isn’t getting swings and misses, and he’s giving up a ton of homers. But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln…
His peripherals were always a bit worrisome, as he was never a high-strikeout pitcher, but he kept his homers low and achieved a good amount of success in his first five full seasons. He also started young, just 21 years old for his first cup of coffee in Detroit and 22 for his rookie year for the Braves.
The Tigers are famous for promoting their top pitching prospects too early, and his career arc — looking finished as a top pitcher in his mid-20s — is a bit reminiscent of that of other more highly touted former Tiger prospects, especially Rick Porcello and Jeremy Bonderman, who were both skipped up to the majors straight from High-A ball, and who have both struggled to live up to their early promise.
But Jurrjens was actually in their minor leagues for five seasons, after being signed as a 17 year old, and pitched more than 500 innings in the minors before reaching the majors, compared to 125-150 for Porcello and Bonderman. He was young, but he was ready.
And he pitched great for us. In his career as an Atlanta Brave, Jair Jurrjens made 118 starts and pitched 719 innings, and went 50-36 with a 3.58 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP, and a 1.95 K/BB. In 2008, 2009, and probably 2011, he was our second-best starter. He’s also the second-greatest player ever to hail from Curacao. Kenley Jansen’s in third place by a skosh, but Andrelton Simmons will soon take that over for good.
(I’m not sure that any team has ever dominated the talent pool from any one place the way the Braves have dominated Curacao. Obviously, they didn’t draft Jurrjens, but they were smart enough to obtain him after he’d pitched 30 2/3 innings of baseball with a 4.70 ERA at the age of 21 in Detroit. But seriously, is there any other team that has the three best players from any one city, state, or country?)
Obviously, I’d rather celebrate Jair’s success than talk about today’s game, which was basically just exactly like Friday’s game except that, after going down 9-0 again, the Braves did what most teams do after going down 9-0: they lost in a blowout.
There is basically no way that the Braves can just let Jurrjens make his next start. The trade deadline is 8 days away, and the Braves need a pitcher, not a belly itcher. Right now, unfortunately, JJ is the latter.