The Braves Get Pitching

On October 29th of 2007, the Braves swapped Edgar Renteria over to the Tigers in exchange for Jair Jurrjens and Gorkys Hernandez. Some were critical of the trade from the Braves perspective, but they’ve certainly come up with the bigger end of the stick in all aspects for 2008. For now, let us just take a look at Jurrjens.

Jair made a brief appearance in the Tigers 2007 rotation, making seven starts and flashing a dismal 13-11 strikeout to walk ratio while hitting a batter and tossing a pair of wild pitches. Jurrjens earned the call up based on a solid season in Double-A at the age of 21 so the Tigers had him skip Triple-A and make some starts at the tail end of the season.

Upon his move to Atlanta, Jurrjens was regarded as a pitcher with middle of the rotation upside and perhaps another year or so before that level was supposed to be reached. What has happened instead is Jurrjens taking a leap forward and coming a co-ace with Tim Hudson of the Baves rotation. Where has the performance come from? Well, Jurrjens’ 2007 strikeout ratio was 20%. In Double-A. One year later and he’s posting an 18% in the big leagues, far surpassing what was expected from him so soon.

Furthermore, Jurrjens had been a pronounced groundballer in the minors and that returned to form in 2008, climbing fourteen points over the 2007 figure that he posted with the Tigers. Seemingly overnight, Jurrjens turned into a a 7K / 3BB / 0.6HR pitcher in the big leagues at the tender age of 22. One season is still too small a sample to be sure, but it looks like the future is bright for Jurrjens and you can chalk up another win on a pitching trade for the Braves.

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Matthew Carruth is a software engineer who has been fascinated with baseball statistics since age five. When not dissecting baseball, he is watching hockey or playing soccer.