Jair Jurrjens

I really think Jurrjens would benefit from time in AAA, but all indications are that he’s pencilled into the rotation, even ahead of James. Since Mike Hampton will never pitch for the Braves again, there’s really nobody to force him out, because the other options all pretty much suck.

Jurrjens was signed by the Tigers at seventeen; from Curacao, he maintains the Braves’ level of Curacaoans at one, where it has been since 1996 except for when Randall Simon was around. He pitched briefly in 2003, then in 2004, at the age of 18, had rookie ball conquered and was promoted to low-A, where he struggled; this is essentially the only time in his career he’s had problems.

In 2005, he had no particular problems at all with regular old A-ball, going 12-6 with a 3.41 ERA; it’s the only time in his career he’s been left at one level for an entire season. He dominated high-A (just 20 years old) in 2006, earning a promotion to AA, where he wasn’t dominant but was still pretty good. He was good in AA in 2007, which really should have led to a promotion to AAA and starting the year there in 2008, but the Tigers’ rotation basically collapsed last year, other than Verlander, and Jurrjens was called up in August, making seven starts. He had a 4.70 ERA, which isn’t great, but was better than most of the Tigers’ starters. He was traded for Renteria along with Gorkys Hernandez, on October 29.

Jurrjens supposedly projects as a third or fourth starter. I haven’t seen him pitch, so I have to go with the experts here, but his minor league statistics are quite good, especially considering that he’s always been young for his leagues, usually one of the youngest players on the team. He’s never put up a strikeout an inning, which most good pitching prospects do at least at the lowest levels, but has pretty consistently stayed around his career 7.22 K/9 rate, and has struck out three times as many men as he’s walked. He didn’t strike many people out in the majors, but it was just thirty innings… Listed at 6-1, 160; I assume that’s what he weighed when he signed.

Jair Jurrjens Statistics (Minor Leagues) – Baseball-Reference.com

106 thoughts on “Jair Jurrjens”

  1. Mac,

    What indications make you think he would be slotted ahead of Chuck James? I was under the impression that it would probably be Smoltz-Hudson-Glavine-James-Reyes/Jurrjens. I am assume that this means Reyes will be back in the minors of in the bullpen?

  2. I was not meaning that they would be put back-to-back. We all know that positions of the starting pitchers change throughout the year. I was speaking more to the fact of where they were ranked. I was under the impression Jurrjens would be vying for the last starting position.

  3. I hope Jair makes the rotation, for no other reason than to hear Skip have to say his name. That’s gonna be fun.

  4. I realize third/fourth starters are valuable and important but couldn’t the Braves have just one prospect who is projected as a 1 or 2? Post-Smoltz/Hudson, this looks like Braves 1983.

  5. Anybody else notice this mixed in with the Yankees news on yahoo sports? (or was this discussed at the end of the last thread?)

    “New York also was nearing completion of a minor league contract with backup infielder Chris Woodward. If added to the major league roster, he would get a one-year deal for $700,000 while in the majors and $120,000 while in the minors.”

    HOW does that man keep getting contracts to play on major league teams?

  6. I saw Jurrjens pitch on Sunday Night Baseball against the Indians (I think) and he looked pretty good, if I remember correctly. Clearly I’m posting just to post, as this is riddled with qualifications.

  7. Maybe being in the NL will help him produce better results. It’s tough to keep the Indians from scoring 4.

  8. FWIW, Mac, this from the end of the DOB article on the Soriano signing:

    The Braves added lefty Will Ohman to a bullpen that features Soriano, Peter Moylan, Manny Acosta and Tyler Yates, with Blaine Boyer and other youngsters competing for jobs.

    Looks like Acosta’s a good bet to be in the rotation, so you can rest easy in writing him up separately, I’d think.

  9. I think Glavine/James back to back would be bad. Two soft tossing lefties in a row would just invite a HR derby. I’d say but Jurrjens in between Glavine and James. But I’m not a GM, coach, so what do I know.

  10. Djokovic beat Federer in straight sets last night, WOW. The final Djokovic versus TSonga, who beat Nadal in straights, is going to be awesome

  11. Marc-

    I agree that having someone who projects as a #1 would be great. But there’s currently like 10-15 #1 guys in the majors and maybe 10 guys who’ve got that kind of potential in the minors, and only 3 (Buccholtz, Chamberlain, and Hughes) are going to debut. And that kind of upside is not a guarantee of that kind of performance.

    I guess what I’m saying is, Smoltz’s, Glavines, and Maddux’s are VERY rare, and we were spoiled rotten by having three at once throughout most of the 90s. Moreover, it’s not like Glavine had multiple Cy Youngs written all over him while he was in the minors. Smoltz clearly had better stuff, but even he was mostly projection; he was always young for his level, but his numbers never really blew you away. Even Maddux never had anything close to his ML numbers while he was in the minor leagues.

    Here’s a fun game. What do the following have in common:
    Johan Santana
    Tim Hudson
    John Lackey
    Brandon Webb
    Aaron Harang
    Dan Haren

    Aside from all being damn good pitchers, none of them were ranked in Baseball America’s top 100 prospects. Ever.

    So even if the Braves don’t have that sure-fire #1 ace-type pitching prospect, they’ve surely got guys with upside. And if you can fill 2/5 or 3/5 of your rotation with pre-arbitration #3 type pitchers, you can afford to go out and blow $15-20 mil on an Erik Bedard-type.

  12. I have no confidence in Hampton but if by some miracle he is healthy then Mike will be the 5th starter not Jurrjens. Jurrjens is probably more ready for the bigs than Reyes so if Hampton does (inevitably) break down again he would seem like the guy to get the first shot at cracking the rotation. James is a lock for the rotation barring an unlikely trade.

  13. I was just looking at the Braves schedule for this year, and they open the season with one game against the Nationals and then come back to Atlanta for their home opener. Why are they playing just one game in Washington?

  14. A couple points, neither related to the other at all (and the first not related to this thread at all):

    (1) Mel Kiper currently lists Todd Boeckman as the top Junior QB prospect in football. I mean, I don’t even know how to react to that.

    (2) I think Bobby and the front office have it backwards on the young pitchers. Reyes has basically done all he can do in the minors and just needs to be given some time to grow in the bigs. Jurrjens needs some AAA seasoning. The problem is that Reyes got pounded in his cup of coffee, while Jurrjens went all Kyle Davies on everyone, showing flashes of capability at the major league level. Those small sample sizes are shaping our team’s outlook, and I think that will come back to haunt us.

  15. Mike, I noticed that about the schedule too, but I’m not going to complain.

    The Braves are playing the Sunday Night first game of the year, AND, we don’t have to wait for a week for a home opener. I’m excited, already requested the 31st off so I can see the game.

  16. Just a thought: What are the odds that Jurrjens, a 6-1/160 guy who’s never thrown 150 innings, makes it through the season in the rotation?

    Stu,
    When Boeckman isn’t getting chased like a rodeo clown, he throws a pretty good deep ball, but…yeah, really.

    The very thought of Mel Kiper, Jr., always gave me giggles.

  17. Jeez… it looks like Federer was the 1914 Athletics.

    Stu, we’ve had our squabbles in the past (including about Davies), but I completely, completely agree with you about Reyes and Jurrjens.

  18. Mike,

    The Braves are opening the new stadium in DC. MLB does this every year; they have a single game to open the season. This year, it’s the Braves because of the new stadium.

    mraver,

    Good points and I concede all of them.

    As for Mel Kiper,Jr. does he really make a living like this? Does he have an actual job? Are people that interested in the draft? And what the hell did Mel Kiper, Sr. do? Was he doing draft analyses in the fifties and project George Shaw as a better bet than Johnny Unitas?

  19. I was just reading DOB’s blog, and there was a mets fan there saying that Delgado was better than Tex, and that McCann is “in his declining years”….I almost spit my coffee all over the keyboard

  20. Sorry, in back to back posts, you seconded something, and nearly spit on something…

    and your name is Second Spitter.

    I can’t take it.

  21. So I’m hearing a little skepticism about Jurrjens from folks right now. I too am with Stu on this one, and I’m nervous as hell – sorry, to be redundant – about the bottom half of the rotation this season. I guess that the Braves are hoping that one or two of Glavine, Jurrjens, Hampton, James, and/or Reyes will pan out.

    Here’s the thing: if the Braves get good production from Smoltz and Hudson, and then get – as they seem to hope they will – league average stuff from Glavine, James, et al., I still don’t think that makes them much better than an 85-win team. That is, I think best-case scenarios from the starting staff are still, relatively speaking, low. Sure, Jurrjens/Glavine could easily bring an improvement over the debacle of last season’s staff. But how much? And will it ultimately matter? Guess we’ll see… of course, it’s still January. Bleh.

  22. I love reading Kiper’s chats. They guy is basically a neanderthal. He writes just like he talks—in broken English, sentence fragments, etc. It’s hilarious.

    That said, I think he does a pretty good job with all the NFL Draft stuff. And I’m pretty sure he makes a lot of money, amazingly enough.

  23. I don’t know why you’d think that, Adam. If the Braves get the same production from the 1-2 spots that they did last year and the 4-5 spots are improved, they should win the division. The Braves had the best run differential in the division last year even with Bud-Jo Redavier sucking up all those innings. If they’d gotten half-decent work from the bottom of the rotation they would have won the division.

  24. You didn’t misspell “the” you improperly used the properly spelled “They”. Grammatical errors are not as bad as misspelling basic words so you’re still better than Kiper.

  25. Sorry Dix, the name comes from the Seinfeld episode with Roger McDowell and Keith Hernandez…..I’ll gladly change it, if someone can give me a good suggestion

  26. @33: I think the best-case scenarios are pretty good; if some combination of Glavine, Jurrgens, and Reyes step up, they could have the best rotation in the division and would probably win more than 90 games. The concern is the worst-case scenario. But the Braves don’t have to improve that much to at least make the playoffs. The Phillies, Braves, and Mets are pretty much the same team–strong hitting, questionable pitching. Neither the Mets or Phillies have improved much (this changes, of course, if the Mets get Santana).As bad as the back end of the rotation was last year, the Braves might well have won the division if not for the midseason bullpen meltdown and the lack of key hits in some of those games. It’s quite possible that a team wins with less than 90 wins. If the Braves perform closer to their pythagorean record, they have a good chance to win. I would have liked to see them add another established starter (preferably young) but it didn’t happen. While I realize that Carlos Delgado is probably better than Lou Gehrig :), the Braves have a more than decent shot this year but they cannot afford another meltdown from Soriano.

  27. @39

    I knew that’s where the name came from, I just thought it was awesome the way your two posts went given the name you use.

  28. No, I misspelled “the”. That’s the word I was attempting to put in that sentence, and I added a superfluous letter, rendering the word misspelled. I didn’t intend to use “they” and mistakenly think it belonged there. That would be a grammatical error. It would also be a much worse, not better, error, I think.

  29. Adam H.

    The Braves outscored everybody else in the league that didn’t play home games in a little league park (Phillies and Rockies). They scored more in the last part of the year adding Tex, but with Escobar in for Rent 1/2 of the time. They got about as little out of Andruw as they should from “the last man standing” or Kotsay in center unless Bobby gets stuck in his “proven vet” mode. The age curve puts every other position player other than Chipper as more likely to improve than to drop off. We will score 850 to maybe even 900 runs this year.

    Also, I believe run differential was second in the league. Hitting won’t drop. Pitching will probably improve a little (If Smoltz or Hudson goes down, no, otherwise anywhere from a little to a lot). Defense will be up at short, first, second (experience) even at catcher, third, right, and left and may drop off in center.

    An above average bullpen (I believe you see why someone would think that,) coupled with an average to slightly above (for the level specified) 1 and 2 starter, coupled with a significantly above average to near league leading offense, improving its defense from the year before, and getting LEAGUE AVERAGE FOR STARTERS out of 3, 4 and 5 is a 95 win team (unless it loses a couple off that in interleague play).

    By the way, I believe our interleague schedule is much easier too. The Braves had the best record in the NL last year for games played solely between NL teams.

  30. Pitching will probably improve a little (If Smoltz or Hudson goes down, no, otherwise anywhere from a little to a lot).

    I think Hudson’s quite likely to drop off some. I don’t know whether that will counteract whatever increase in production we should get out of the back of the rotation (probably not), but it’s worth keeping in mind, I think.

    I also think your projected defensive improvement is a bit unrealistic. How do you know defense will be any better at SS? Escobar made several errors in his short time otu there last season, didn’t he? And at 3B? You think Chipper will be better than in his career year (defensively) last year?

    All that said, I generally agree with your optimistic outlook for 2008. I think we have a chance to be pretty tough.

  31. AAA seasoning is overrated. If you can play at AA, you can play in the show. AAA these days is just filled with has-beens and never-will-bes. AA is where the real action is at.

    When Boeckman isn’t getting chased like a rodeo clown, he throws a pretty good deep ball, but…yeah, really.

    I can forgive letting LSU get to you but he killed the Buckeyes in the Illinois game. That’s two recent stinkbombs with another around the corner. Joe Germaine seems like a good comp.

  32. I was actually thinking of changing my handle, darn.

    I am a huge Jurrjens fan, but I agree he should start in AAA. Like Stu, I agree Reyes should be in the rotation for some on the job training, but Bobby is probably too afraid to have three lefties at the bottom of the rotation.

    I love watching the NFL draft. I love when they show the clips of Mel Kiper bashing some of the best players in the game and hearing the Colts GM rage on Mel Kiper. The replay ESPN shows of the Jets draft blunders is comical as well. Some great quotes: Chris Berman, “As a Jets fan I’m gonna puke” and a Jets fan saying “we heard if marino was available they’d take him, the jets must know something we don’t” and those are just a few.

  33. The replay ESPN shows of the Jets draft blunders is comical as well. Some great quotes: Chris Berman, “As a Jets fan I’m gonna puke” and a Jets fan saying “we heard if marino was available they’d take him, the jets must know something we don’t” and those are just a few.

    I love that clip. “The Jets select, fullback” — Oh no! The crowd screams — “Roger Vick, Texas A&M”

    “The Jets select….quarterback…” the commish takes a dramatic pause just to tease the folks who think they are getting Marino “…Ken O’Brien, UC-Davis”

  34. Robert,
    I’m saying he ain’t so good. A one-dimensional guy. Yes, looks the NFL type, but has shriveled in big spots. I don’t expect a lot from him when he plays you guys either.

    What I found nearly hysterical about the Michigan-OSU game was that Tressel was not going to let Boeckman lose it. And Wells & his defense certainly made him look smart.

  35. you guys see the interview that Jurrjens with baseball america before he was traded . . . a long time before. He compares his style to that of smoltz:

    JJ: No, but my delivery is pretty old-fashioned. I’m a little like John Smoltz in that I put my hands up over my head when I wind up. Keeping your balance is a big part of pitching, and I used to lean forward too much. That helps me slow down.

    the while thing:
    http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/prospects/features/263537.html

  36. Jurrjens is still young, and only has about a year of AA experience. The Tigers push their players faster than I’d like.

    As I’ve argued before, while AAA isn’t used as a finishing ground, the population there of veteran hitters and pitchers who are polished but lack major league ability (though the difference between the median major leaguer and top AAA players is not that great) could be helpful for many players. AAA players often actually are more skilled than major leaguers, they just don’t have the same tools.

  37. Jurrens probably will start as #5, but I would not be surprised to see Reyes as the #5 starter. He pitched well towards the end of September–though that is not as much of a test as it might be.

    That said, I would like to see Jurrjens, Morton, Smith, Bueno and possibly Reyes open at AAA and get a little more experience above AA. I would rather the Braves take a little more time to develop these pithers (especially Jurrjens, Reyes and Morton) rather than rely on them the way they relied on Kyle Davies. It has been a while since the Braves had this many credible arms at AA/AAA and it will make a bigger difference in the long run if they allow them to develop.

    It would be nice to see the Braves find a way to pick up another starter (I wish it could be Bedard) just to solidify the rotation, until the younger pitchers are needed….

  38. Robert,
    I’m saying he ain’t so good. A one-dimensional guy.

    Me too. Joe Germaine didn’t exactly light the world on fire after he left OSU.

    I don’t expect a lot from him when he plays you guys either.

    Our official QB greeter decided to return for his senior year so it could be tough:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cCDBC4JRLII

  39. Stu,

    On the defense, I said EVEN at 3rd. I base that on Chipper being substantially the same no matter how many games he plays. I also believe either Infante or Lillibridge or Prado will out perform Woodward. And, if Chipper goes down, then our replacement would be better DEFENSIVELY.

    AS to Escobar, any error increase will be offset and more by range and arm strength. Renteria is now, at best, an average defender. Escobar will be well above average, but well short of elite.

    By “if Hudson goes down”, I meant injured or major ineffectiveness. Not “slips .1 in ERA”. Last year, arguably, Smoltz was at least the 3rd best starter in the league. Hudson was arguably at least the 10th best starter in the league. I believe if they are mid for the position (Smoltz 8 and Hudson 24 as in 16 teams 1 – 16 then 17 – 32) or if one is slightly up on that and the other slightly down, then my projection holds FOR THE REGULAR SEASON.

    For post season success, we either need Smoltz and Hudson near to last year, OR need a youngster to really take a step forward (James, Jurrjens, Reyes, Morton, Bennett) OR we need Hampton to go back to close to his career best. Without the step forward from somebody AND the “break even” from S and H, then we can’t go deep in the postseason without a bunch of luck.

    I again point out something frequently criticized here, Glavine is not a help for us in the postseason. he may help us get there.

  40. I didn’t realize jurrjens threw 97…

    Does anyone know how to correctly pronounce this guy’s name? Does Jair rhyme with ‘air’ or ‘jar’?

  41. Anyone who doesn’t want to know can over his or her eyes, but I believe it’s pronounced “Jye-ur,” to rhyme with “eye fur.”

    Jon Miller may pronounce it correctly, but he’ll spend about 5 minute trilling all the r’s in his name.

  42. I was in an elevator with Jon Miller & Bob Murphy once.

    It was really disconcerting to hear the 2 of them have a regular conversation. They were talking about their immediate travel plans, but the whole thing just sounded too official. I kept expecting one of them to say, “And now a word from our sponsors…”

  43. Cliff, not sure why you’re yelling, but OK.

    I misread your intended meaning of the word “even” with respect to Chipper’s defensive abilities. I read it like, “And we can even expect improvement from…”, not like, “And the defensive production of the following positions should remain about even…” Hopefully, you can see how I made that mistake.

    And you may be right about Escobar, but I don’t see how you can just assume he’s going to be above average defensively. He’s got good tools, sure, but all we’ve seen from him is that he’s prone to errors.

    And I wasn’t talking about Hudson in the postseason.

  44. With the above talk of name changing — I’m going to change to my real name (hope it doesn’t cause problems, mac).

    I’m changing to get a fresh start after being allegedly connected to that crazy blog enhancement witch hunt.

  45. BTW, if you click on this site’s “killer T-shirts” ad, there’s a great shirt with a pic of Che Guevara that reads: “I have no idea who this guy is.”

  46. If Richmond has something like Jurrjens, Reyes, Morton, and somebody in the rotation, they will be awfully good. Maybe another division crown.

    Many of the roster decisions are going to be based on options. I agree that Reyes either needs to pitch in ML or probably has done all he can in AAA. But, what do you do with him? Jurrjens may be ready, but if he is only marginally better NOW than Bennett, you can’t just release Bennett.

  47. My analysis of Hampton would be something like this:

    I can’t remember the last time he pitched for the Braves, and I don’t think we have any recorded statistics from that far back, so all I can say is that he’s a wild card. He’s not very likely to pitch.

  48. To be fair, Richmond won the International League championship, not just their Division.

    If Jurrrrjjjjens is 6’1″, 160, I think we have a negative net as far as Curacao natives go – pound for pound that is.

  49. @88,

    I wondered if the Braves would move the start times once they were off TBS. It seemed that they started at 7:35 so that TBS could show another episode of “Andy Griffith.”

  50. FWIW, Braves moving Mon-Thu start times up to 7:10.

    And just like that I lose a half hour of productivity a day. All meetings must end by four.

  51. I can’t ever watch the games anyway, so I couldn’t care less if it started at 3AM. Life is so unfair…

  52. Frenchy just changed his agent to Lonnie Cooper. I guess it’s pretty likely that we will see a long term contract being agreed upon during the upcoming spring training.

  53. Kyle freakin Lohse for 2 year/2 million?

    is that guy on drugs?

    i suppose crystal meth is nice and all, but put down the pipe, man.

  54. Entering camp, the Braves are hoping Mike Hampton will win the fourth spot in their rotation. If James proves healthy, he will, along with Jair Jurrjens, Jo-Jo Reyes, Jeff Bennett and Buddy Carlyle, battle for the fifth spot.

    Mark Bowman has to be kidding….

  55. Back in 1993 I embarked on a strange, obsessive endeavor. I resolved to collect at least one of every baseball card that featured any member of the ’91 Braves. There were a lot of card shops back then, and I would spend inordinate amounts of time sifting through their commons boxes. If I saw a box of ’85 Donruss, I’d sift through it for ten minutes on the off-chance there might be a Mike Heath hidden in there somewhere. I have 27 different Mike Heath cards. Encased in plastic. In an album. Yes, this is true.

    So this morning I was cleaning out my closets, and I’ve decided to divest myself of my entire card collection. I’ve got probably 8000 or so, lots of late ’80s and early ’90s, along with probably 1000 or more from 1975. It’s not a star-heavy collection, but there are some gems. (Along with the Mike Heath’s, I’ve got about 30 different Glavine and 20 different Smoltz cards, etc etc). I thought I’d give the Braves Journal crowd a head start before I head over to craigs. You can email me at my screen name at yahoo. Serious ATL-area inquiries only.

  56. Bennett and Carlyle didn’t completely suck during their time in Atlanta last year. They count as rotation depth, although having them “compete” for the fifth slot is mostly a courtesy barring more injuries.

    Of course, seeing Bowman pencil in Hampton for the #4 slot makes me think you were right the first time…

  57. Dan @ 103,

    I doubt he’s kidding although he rarely knows anything. Smoltz and others have mentioned going with a “6-man” rotation in order to keep the older guys more fresh throughout the year, and if Hampton can pitch at all (I know, a big if) then I think this scenario is extremely likely…I doubt at least i hope the team wouldn’t keep either Reyes or Jurrjens at the ML level to pitch as a spot-starter, id rather both pitch in AAA at least until we need them…Under such a scenario:

    Smoltz
    Hudson
    Glavine
    Hampton/Bennett
    James

    with bennett being the vulture when he’s not starting for hampton…he (bennett) pitched decently enough at the end of the year and in winter ball that the team is unlikely to just dump him (he has no options) unless he has a terrible spring. so essentially, if hampton makes the opening day roster i think the 4th spot will be him and bennett, with both kids in AAA…if he doesnt jurrjens will probably start permanently in the 4th spot with bennett being the swing guy..unless he is just awful in the spring i would bet good money bennett makes the club in one way or another…

    the positives of such a scenario (hampton/bennett) would be a deep AAA rotaton of:

    Jurrjens
    Reyes
    Morton
    Carlyle (if they can send him down)
    Dan Smith?

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