I am amazed by the Atlanta Braves pitching staff so far this season. There are a bunch of posts running around CAC and ESPN this morning about Atlanta's pitching fawesomeness, so why not one more. This morning on Twitter I noted that Jair Jurrjens leads the entire Major Leagues in ERA this year -- a spectacular 1.50.
It was then pointed out by David Lee and Ben Dudarino that the reason for this may be that he's not walking very many people. Thusly I went on a stat quest ... a "stquest." (I'm reaching.) It gets unprecedented form here on out...
Jurrjens has a 1.5 BB/9 (walks per nine innings) ratio this season. That is less than half his career average of 3.1 BB/9. In fact, it's less than half of what he's posted in any of his Major League seasons. He's been quite consistently walking people up to this point: 3.2 in 2007, 3.3 in 2008, 3.1 in 2009, and 3.2 in 2010.
In fact IN FACT, Jurrjens has never put up a BB/9 number this low in ANY MONTH of his Major League career. The closest he's come is a 2.28 BB/9 number in June of 2008. What is going on!
Perhaps this is just part of the evolution of a pitcher, that as he matures he just decides to throw more strikes, and he learns how to throw them better. For the first seven years of Greg Maddux's career he had a 2.8 BB/9 ratio, then all of a sudden (when he came to Atlanta) it dropped precipitously, and from then until the end of his career it was half of that number, a 1.4 BB/9 ratio.
Has Jurrjens fundamentally changed as a pitcher? Is this just a result of more pitch to contact style pitching? Will this be the new norm for him? I'm excited at the prospect that he could indeed be ascending to a new level of excellence in his pitching career. If so, it's going to be fun to watch.
If anyone names a band "Jair Jurrjens And The Immaculate Control," you have to give me backstage passes for life.