Where's the Love for Jair Jurrjens?

Joe MorganSenior Analyst IAugust 4, 2008

At the conclusion of the 2007 season, the Atlanta Braves were looking to move shortstop, Edgar Renteria, in order to free up some payroll and give up-and-coming shortstop, Yunel Escobar, a spot in the everyday lineup.

In October 2007, new Atlanta General Manager, Frank Wren, traded Renteria to the Detroit Tigers, for outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and pitcher Jair Jurrjens.


The Detroit Tigers signed Jair Jurrjens, born in Willemstad, Curaçao, as was former Brave Andruw Jones, as an un-drafted free agent in 2003.

Jurrjens was solid throughout 2003 and 2004, but he didn't make any significant waves until 2005.

Pitching for the Single-A, West Michigan Whitecaps, Jurrjens earned a 12-6 record and fanned 108 batters in 2005.

2006 only brought more success for Jurrjens as he recorded a 2.08 ERA, which catapulted him to the Double-A, Erie Sea Wolves.

Jurrjens continued to have success with the Sea Wolves, resulting in a call-up by the Tigers on August 15, 2007.

His MLB debut, a start against the Cleveland Indians, made Jurrjens the first MLB pitcher from the nation of Curaçao.

However, near the end of 2007, Jurrjens battled injury woes and failed to record an out past the third inning in his final two starts for Detroit.

Concerned by his supposed lack of durability, the Tigers were willing to trade Jurrjens to the pitching-starved Braves.

Detroit, encouraged by adding Renteria’s bat to their lineup, viewed their deal with Atlanta as another piece to their championship puzzle.

As of today, Atlanta looks to be the winner in this trade.

Gorkys Hernandez is having a nice season at Single-A in Myrtle Beach, batting .284 and garnering a selection to the 2008 All-Star Futures Game.

As for Renteria, his defensive ability had declined and he is batting an abnormal .258.

As of August 4, 2008, Jurrjens has recorded a 10-6 record, a team-leading 3.06 ERA and 96 strikeouts, also tops for Atlanta.

Jair Jurrjens has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for the Atlanta Braves.

Every time their talented rookie takes the mound, he gives the Braves a chance to win.

Atlanta is 13-8 in his 21 starts this season and Jurrjens has gone six or more innings in 16 games.

Despite his good numbers and his consistency on the pitching mound, Jair Jurrjens has been flying under the radar due to Atlanta's disappointing season. Jurrjens deserves more credit for his breakout season.

Jurrjens is among rookie leaders in both wins and ERA. A feat that should not be ignored.

When you look at the National League’s top rookies in 2008, Cincinnati pitcher Edinson Volquez and Chicago heavy hitters Kosuke Fukudome and Geovany Soto automatically come to mind.

However, make sure you notice Jair Jurrjens. He deserves to be a part of the discussion.