More on Jair

First, the name. Think J.R. (actually, it’s J-Air) JER-jens. We’ll call him JR, er: J-Air, (who impressed a Tigers fan enough to start a blog in his honor).

Prospect guru Kevin Goldstein likes him (and Hernandez):

JairJurrjens is just 21 years old and has already proven the ability to hold his own in the big leagues. The Curacao native isn’t especially big or projectable, but what he is now is pretty darn good, as he throws a low 90s fastball, decent slider, and deceptive changeup. Scouts do wonder is he has a big league out pitch and see him as more of a No. 4 starter type – a role the Braves could use him in immediately.

“Hernandez hit .293/.344/.391 in the Midwest League this year for his full-season debut while also leading the Midwest League with 54 stolen bases. He’s an absolutely burner on the base paths, and also a spectacular center fielder with a plus arm. Despite the numbers, he’s still more tools than performance. He needs to either hone his approach to develop into a leadoff man, or develop more power (the bat speed is there) to become a dynamic power/speed combo. Very high upside, but obviously some risk. He’ll likely begin next year at High A Myrtle Beach.

Both players were going to be slam dunk top five prospects on the upcoming Detroit prospect rankings.”

He’s developed velocity — touching 95 MPH on the radar gun — and as his body fills out he could become even more of a power pitcher. Regardless, the fact that he’s already ready to compete for a spot in the rotation at such a young age speaks well of JR’s future.

Reading between the lines, the Braves seem confident that JR — a "control pitcher that has power," according to Frank Wren — and Jo-Jo will be in the rotation next year.

"[Jurrjens] and Jo-Jo Reyes are very good looking, young, talented pitchers," Wren said in reference to the hurlers who will compete for the final spots in the Atlanta rotation. "If they aren’t in the rotation at the beginning of the season, they will be there very quickly."

That is, if they are still in the organization once Spring Training rolls around (thanks to D’Andre at Blabberin’ Braves for the tip): ESPN’s Keith Law says he wouldn’t rule out another big acquisition by the Braves for an established starter like Dan Haren. Baltimore’s Erik Bedard may also be available — I’d give the O’s JR and Jo-Jo for him. I don’t expect that to happen. If not, I’m quite happy to have two potential studs competing for starting jobs next year.

Overall, I like the deal, keeping in mind that shortstops aren’t in high demand this offseason. Most of the good teams are set at the position, and rebuilding squads like Oakland aren’t usually in the market for veteran shortstops with a big (albeit reasonable) contract. And for those who wanted Nate Robertson or someone of that ilk in return: Why? Robertson is Chuck James, with more experience. JR may not pan out, but at least he has the potential to be something better.

Besides, Curacao has been good to Atlanta so far.


*Stay tuned for our farewell to Edgar, easily one of the game’s most underrated players. We were privileged to watch him play.

**UPDATE: Within the comments in his latest blog entry, DOB said Wren told him the Braves would NOT trade JR or Hernandez this winter. And check out these stats of major league hitters who faced JR down the stretch:

.220 (24-for-109) with four homers, 11 walks, 13 K.

vs. LHB: .262 (16-for-61) with two homers, 10 walks, 6 K, .366 OBP, .508 slugging

vs. RHB .167 (8-for-48) with two homers, 1 walk, 7 K, .196 OBP, .313 slugging.

Dude DOMINATED right-handed batters, and consider the teams he faced: Cleveland (twice), Yankees, Minnnesota (twice), Texas and K.C.

Five of his seven starts were against good teams.

Could this be Dawgman?

Too many obnoxious Dawg fans to count, but this guy seems a worthy candidate. I’m a UGA grad, and an admittedly lukewarm supporter, but seeing Georgia fans taunt the Gators reminded me of how easy it is to dimiss Mets backers who mock the Braves. Sure, you won this round, but do you really want me to recount the last two decades?

(via Mostly Muppet)


Renteria dealt for prospects

The local organ is reporting that Edgar has been shipped to the Motor City for a couple of prospects. I don’t know anything about the two players — centerfielder Gorkys Hernandez and righthanded pitcher Jair Jurjjens — but my initial reaction is: Is that it?

As a debut for Frank Wren, this is underwhelming, at first blush anyway. Maybe there’s something more in the works.

The two players sound highly promising, so maybe this will work out long term. It frees up some payroll too. Still, I figured we’d get at least a decent major league pitcher for Edgar. On the other hand, young arms are what we need most. And another speedy young outfielder can’t hurt.

CB is more excited about the deal. He ponits out that Jurjjens pitched well for the most part for Detroit this season and is among that organization’s prized prospects. He also points out, rightly, that teams are not going to trade No. 1-2 starter types for veteran position players who are not superstars. Also, not many teams need shortstops. CB also notes that it’s good to see Wren make a deal so quickly and an aggressive one at that.

Here’s more on our new guys from Bloomberg:


Hernandez (first is pronounced GOR-keys), who just turned 20 in September, is considered one of the top outfield prospects in all ofbaseball. He completed his first full professional season in 2007 and earned the Class-A Midwest League Most Valuable Player Award while leading West Michigan to the league championship. Hernandez paced the circuit with 54 stolen bases and batted .293 with 84 runs, 25 doubles, four home runs and 50 RBI in 124 games. He grounded into just two double plays in 533 plate appearances.

A Midwest League All-Star, Hernandez was voted by the MWL’s managers as being the Most Exciting Player and the Fastest Baserunner in 2007. The strong-armed center fielder walked and scored a run in the World Team’s 7-2 win in the 2007 MLB Futures Game in San Francisco on July 8.

Jurrjens, 21, was rated by Baseball America to be the Eastern League’s sixth-best Major League prospect (third-best pitcher) this past season. In 2006, Baseball America rated him as the best control pitcher in the Tigers organization.

Jurrjens (pronounced JEYE-air JER-jens) went 7-5 with a 3.20 ERA in 19 starts at Class-AA Erie in 2007 before making his Major League debut with Detroit in August. He worked in seven games (all starts) for the Tigers, going 3-1 with a 4.70 ERA. In his last three minor league starts, Jurrjens went 3-0 with a 0.78 ERA, with 24 strikeouts and just one walk in 23.0 innings pitched. In 502.2 career minor league innings pitched (89 games/84 starts), Jurrjens has posted a 3.20 ERA with 404 strikeouts and just 121 walks.

"We appreciate the talent and professionalism that Edgar Renteria brought to us the last two years and we wish him the best in his career," said Wren. "Today we were able to acquire two special players. We are extremely excited to be able to add a starting pitcher who we believe will compete for a spot in our rotation next spring, as well as an exciting and gifted outfielder who possesses tremendous speed for the future."