Atlanta Braves: Looking Back at Jair Jurrjens Career

Jair Jurrjens was expected to front the Atlanta Braves staff for years. Instead, on his 31st birthday, he is fighting for his baseball life.

There was a time when Jair Jurrjens appeared to be the next young starter for the Atlanta Braves that would blossom into becoming a star. Acquired from the Detroit Tigers as part of the Edgar Rentaria trade, he quickly established himself in the Braves rotation. As a 22 year old rookie, Jurrjens posted a 13-10 record with a 3.68 ERA and a 1.370 WHiP. His season was good enough to finish third in the Rookie of the Year voting that year, behind Geovany Soto and Joey Votto.

The following year, Jurrjens was even better, posting a 14-10 record with a 2.60 ERA and a 1.214 WHiP. He led the National League with 34 starts, and was third in the NL with a 6.5 pitching WAR. After struggling with injuries in 2010, he came back with a strong season in 2011. Although he had a knee injury, he was 13-6 with a 2.96 ERA and a 1.224 WHiP, and made his first All Star Game. At 25 years old, he appeared destined for greatness.

Then injuries took their toll. A strained groin left Jurrjens ineffective to start the 2012 season, and the Braves sent him to the minors to work through his issues. Although he did return to the Majors, Jurrjens struggled, posting a 6.89 ERA and a 1.862 WHiP in 48.1 innings. Following the season, the Braves decided not to offer him a contract, sending him into free agency.

From there, Jurrjens became a baseball vagabond. He signed with the Orioles, and appeared in two games in the Majors before being sent back to the minors. After being released, he signed with the Tigers, and spent the rest of the season in AAA. From there, he spent time with the Reds and Rockies organizations, before signing with the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions of the Chinese Professional Baseball League for the 2016 campaign. However, he was released in August, as he was unable to perform in that league either.

Jurrjens, who turns 31 years old today, currently has his baseball career on life support. Injuries, and a respiratory issue that cropped up during his only appearance in the Majors with the Rockies, have sidetracked his once promising career. In what should have been his prime, where he would be fronting the Braves rotation, Jurrjens may well have thrown his last professional pitch.

Jair Jurrjens was a promising starter for the Atlanta Braves, and looked like he would continue their tradition of developing solid pitchers. Instead, his career may be already be over.

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