Jair Jurrjens, Rookie of the Year?

Michael PopeAnalyst IMay 29, 2008

It's time to put Jair Jurrjens on your Rookie of the Year watch. It's still early, but as the talk begins to swirl, let's not leave this guy behind.

With all the banter surrounding the hot starts of Clayton Kershaw, Jay Bruce, and Max Scherzer, Jurrjens has been lost in the crowd.

Brought over from Detroit in the Edgar Renteria deal, Jurrjens came without much fanfare. But, despite his less-than-spectacular 4.70 ERA last year, he threw four very solid outings at the end of the year.

Earning a spot in the Braves rotation this spring, Jurrjens has won five, lost three and thrown six quality starts. His Memorial Day outing was the only really rough start for him this year, in which he allowed three earned runs over four innings.

He doesn't have the electric stuff of the other two pitchers mentioned earlier, but he gets the job done on the ground. His low-90s fastball and changeup both have sink and his ground ball tendencies are key to his success.

Players without sick home-run or strikeout totals don't get noticed nearly as much. But, the Braves' hot start hasn't come simply because Chipper Jones.

This team has been winning because of its pitching. While Tim Hudson leads the team with seven wins, it can be argued that Jurrjens has been their most consistent starter.

At the end of the year, things may look a lot different than they do right now. But through the first two months of the season, Jurrjens has earned his place among the NL's top rookies.