Here's a quick trivia question: which pitcher leads the National League in both wins and earned run average?
If you guessed any of the Philadelphia Phillies' ace pitchers including Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee or Cole Hamels, you were close, but also very wrong.
On October 29, 2007, the Atlanta Braves dealt shortstop Edgar Renteria to the Detroit Tigers for outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and Jair Jurrjens, an undrafted free-agent pitcher.
Since joining the Braves, Jurrjens has put up solid numbers. In his first season with Atlanta, in which the Braves finished 72-90, Jurrjens finished 13-10 with a 3.68 ERA, good enough for third place in the NL Rookie of the Year voting.
His sophomore season was even better—14-10 with a 2.60 ERA, finishing third behind Cardinals pitcher Chris Carpenter and Giants ace, Tim Lincecum in the Cy Young voting.
Despite the strong and consistent numbers, Jurrjens was never really seen as a top-of-the-line pitcher with the Braves.
Much like Steve Avery, Kevin Millwood and Denny Neagle before him, Jurrjens was seen more of the fourth pitcher in the Braves stacked pitching lineup.
Pitching behind Derek Lowe, Tommy Hanson and Tim Hudson, Jurrjens may actually be the best pitcher on the 2011 Braves team.
What's even more impressive is the fact that Jurrjens could possibly win the NL Cy Young award this year despite not being the ace of the team.
In the last six seasons, the winner of the Cy Young award for the national league has been an ace pitcher—Brandon Webb in 2006 for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Jake Peavy for the San Diego Padres in 2007, Tim Lincecum for the San Francisco Giants in 2008 and again in 2009 and Roy Halladay for the Phillies last season.
Jurrjens not only leads the National League in wins with 12, but he also leads all Major League Baseball with a 1.87 ERA.
On Sunday against the Washington Nationals, Jurrjens will look to become the first NL pitcher to reach the 13-win mark.
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