Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Reader Blog: Jair Jurrjens is overrated

Much the same as the rest of the Braves' pitching staff, Jair Jurrjens is overrated. The reason for this stems from a decent ERA in 2008 and an awesome ERA in 2009. But there isn't anything special here and there is no good reason why he should repeat his 2.60 ERA from 2009. Basically Jurrjens is a fastball/curve ball pitcher who mixes in a slider from time to time. He throws his heater about 91 MPH. Nothing special.

His K/BB ratio for his career in the majors is an unimpressive 1.97/1 and he K's just over the acceptable rate of 6 per 9 IP while having OK but not astouding control. He is a slight ground ball pitcher but whereas Tim Hudson posted a better than 3:1 Ground ball rate in 2009, Jurrjens was 1:1. But what Jurrjens really has going for him is luck.

In 2009, Jurrjens allowed a .273 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play). Most pitchers allow around .300 or so and while some do better than that consistently, you will not be able to see it as a "skill" until they are in the league for several years. Jurrjens also has seen his HR/FB rate be under 10% every year of his major league career. Once again, most pitchers have that number flatten out at the 10% rate. Last year, Jurrjens only allowed 6% of his flyballs to go for HR.

A normal HR rate and BABIP would have led Jurrjens to an ERA of 4.34 which is nearly a run and three quarters higher than his actual ERA.

All of this would be bad news enough for Jurrjens but to make matters worse, he was slowed in the Spring by a balky shoulder which is a huge red flag for a 24 year old pitcher coming off of his first 200+ inning season of his career.

What Jurrjens is, right now, IMO is an OK #3 or a very good #4. The Braves are starting him in their second game. After seeing Derek Lowe get ripped in the opener. Aren't the Braves supposed to have awesome pitching?

All stats courtesy of fangraphs , my favorite non Cubs baseball website.

Chicago Tribune's Chicago's Best Blogs award