Jurrjens with the Baltimore Orioles
|Free agent – No. 49|
January 29, 1986 |
|August 15, 2007, for the Detroit Tigers|
(through 2014 season)
|Earned run average||3.72|
|Career highlights and awards|
Jair Francoise Jurrjens (/ / JY-ər JUR-jənz; born January 29, 1986) is a Curaçaoan professional baseball pitcher who is currently a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Detroit Tigers, Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, and Colorado Rockies and in the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL) for the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions.
Jurrjens was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Detroit Tigers in 2003. In seven games during his 2003 campaign with the GCL Tigers, Jurrjens accumulated a 2–1 record with 20 strikeouts and just three walks. However, Jurrjens really broke out during his 2005 season with the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Tigers' single-A affiliate. In 26 games started, Jurrjens went 12–6 with 108 strikeouts and 36 walks. He continued to improve during the 2006 season, as a 5–0, 2.08 ERA start with the Whitecaps earned Jurrjens a promotion to the Erie SeaWolves, the Tigers' Double-A affiliate. In 12 games with the SeaWolves, Jurrjens went 4–3 with a 3.36 ERA.
Jurrjens began the 2007 season pitching for the SeaWolves. On August 15, the Tigers purchased Jurrjens' contract from the SeaWolves, adding him to their 40-man roster. Jurrjens made his major league debut on August 15, 2007, as a starting pitcher against the Cleveland Indians, making him the first pitcher from Curaçao to reach the major leagues. In that game, he gave up four earned runs in seven innings, taking the loss. He recorded his first major league win in his next start, also against the Indians, allowing only one run on one hit in 6 2⁄3 innings pitched.
2006 World Baseball Classic
Jurrjens joined fellow Curaçao native Andruw Jones on the Netherlands national baseball team for the 2006 World Baseball Classic. Jurrjens pitched one inning against Puerto Rico in the WBC, giving up three runs and earning him a loss.
On October 29, 2007, Jurrjens and outfielder Gorkys Hernandez were traded to the Atlanta Braves for shortstop Edgar Rentería. Jurrjens was listed by Baseball America as the Braves' 3rd-best prospect entering the 2008 season.
By the end of April 2008, Jurrjens was 3–2 with a 3.05 ERA and 28 strikeouts. Jurrjens was asked prior to the game on April 20 about how he felt facing his fellow countryman Andruw Jones. Jurrjens said, "It's going to be fun to face him", then said "It's going to be even more fun to strike him out."  Jurrjens then went on to strike Jones out all three times he faced him.
Jurrjens pitched well throughout the first half of the 2008 season, compiling a 9–4 record with an impressive 3.00 ERA prior to the All-Star Break. On July 9, 2008 Jurrjens was named National League Rookie of the Month for the month of June. Jurrjens appeared to tire during the second half of the season, going 4–6 with a subpar 4.66 ERA after the All-Star Break. Overall, Jurrjens finished his rookie season with a record of 13–10 and a 3.68 ERA in 188 1⁄3 innings.
Despite his impressive rookie season, some remained skeptical of Jurrjens' future prospects as a pitcher in the major leagues. As a result, Jurrjens went into the 2009 season looking to avoid a "sophomore slump."
Jurrjens again pitched very well in the first half of 2009, going just 7–7 but posting an excellent 2.91 ERA in 19 starts. Unlike 2008, there would be no drop-off in the second half for Jurrjens, as he went 7–3 with an exceptional 2.24 ERA in 15 second-half starts. Overall in 2009, Jurrjens went 14–10 while finishing third in the National League with a 2.60 ERA in 215 innings and tying for the league lead with 34 games started. Jurrjens went 7–6 with a 4.64 ERA in 2010, a season in which he dealt with some health problems. He underwent arthroscopic surgery for a torn meniscus in his right knee in October, having missed September and the Division Series with pain in his knee.
Jurrjens began the 2011 season on the disabled list, but got off to a strong start after he was activated. He pitched his first career shutout on July 1, 2011 against the Baltimore Orioles, allowing one hit and one walk. It was his eleventh win of the season and improved his ERA to a league-best 1.89 ERA. Jurrjens led the National League in wins and ERA at the All-Star break, and was chosen to play in his first All-Star Game. He pitched 1 2⁄3 scoreless innings in the NL's 5–1 win. Following the All-Star break, Jurrjens went 0–1 with a 6.26 ERA in four starts. On August 6, the Braves placed him on the 15-day DL due to pain in his surgically repaired right knee. The move was retroactive to August 2. He returned briefly, but did not play for the Braves in September.
Jurrjens got off to a poor start in the 2012 season, with an 0–2 record and a 9.37 ERA in his first four starts. On April 23, he was optioned to the Braves' Triple-A affiliate in Gwinnett, his first demotion in five seasons with the Braves. Atlanta's general manager, Frank Wren, stated that the move was intended to give Jurrjens the opportunity to work through his difficulties at the Triple-A level and get back on track pitching wise.
On June 22, 2012, Jurrjens was called back to the majors by the Braves after teammate Brandon Beachy injured his right elbow and underwent Tommy John surgery. He got his first win of the 2012 season against the Boston Red Sox. He was not tendered a contract before the deadline on November 30, 2012, and became a free agent.
On January 24, 2013, Jurrjens agreed to a one-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles for $1.5 million. Incentives could have brought the deal to $4 million. However, after the Orioles reviewed Jurrjens' medical information, they instead signed Jurrjens to a minor league contract. Jurrjen's contract was purchased from the Triple-A Norfolk Tides on May 18. He made his first start with the Orioles on that day, pitching 5 innings and picking up a no-decision, while the Orioles lost the game 6-10. He was optioned back to the Norfolk Tides on May 21, and recalled on June 29. He was optioned back to Norfolk on July 1. Jurrjens was designated for assignment by the Orioles on July 12 in order to clear room for Jairo Asencio. Jurrjens opted for free agency instead of playing in Triple A, and became a free agent on July 18.
Return to Detroit
On July 2, 2014, Jurrjens was traded to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for minor league first baseman Harold Riggins. Jurrjens made his 2014 season debut on July 4, making his first major league start since June 29, 2013, pitching 4 2⁄3 innings and allowing eight runs on twelve hits. After the start, Jurrjens was taken to the hospital, though his "breathing problem" had since ceased. He was designated for assignment on July 21 and was resigned to a minor league contract. Jurrjens elected free agency in October 2014, but was resigned by the Rockies to a minor league deal and began the year with the Rockies AAA affiliate the Albuquerque Isotopes. He was released by the Rockies on August 28, 2015 after posting a 6.88 ERA in 17 games for the Isotopes.
Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions
Jurrjens has a four-seam fastball that he used to throw at 91–92 MPH, but by the 2012 season had dipped into the 87–90 range. Jurrjens pairs his fastball with a changeup to lefties in the low 80s and a slurve in the high 70s to righties.
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- "Jair Jurrjens Blanks Brothers in CPBL Debut". Chinese Professional Baseball League. March 22, 2016. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
- "Report: Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions Release Pitcher Jair Jurrjens". Chinese Professional Baseball League. August 1, 2016. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
- "Brooks Baseball · Home of the PitchFX Tool - Player Card: Jair Jurrjens". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
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