The Atlanta Braves have placed Jair Jurrjens on the DL (retroactive to March 25) with an oblique injury. The team is confident he wont need more than a week to return to 100 percent. In fact, he’s already scheduled for a rehab start April 11 at Triple-A Gwinnett and should be back with the Braves April 16.
In the meantime, Mike Minor will take Jurrjens’ place in the rotation and will start Wednesday at Milwaukee.
Minor, the Braves No. 4 prospect according to Baseball America, was expected to win the Braves’ No. 5 starter role out of spring training. Despite allowing just one run in 10 innings this spring, he was sent to the minors in favor of Brandon Beachy.
In nine games (eight starts) with the Braves in 2010, Minor posted an attention-getting 9.52 K/9 with an equally impressive 2.43 walk rate. On the surface, his 5.98 ERA suggests he wasn’t quite ready for the show. His FIP (3.77) and xFIP (3.65), however, indicate an extreme amount of bad luck. His .379 BABIP supports this.
The 23-year-old southpaw mixes three pitches with impressive command. His fastball sat at 91-94 mph late last season with significant movement. His best offering is his changeup, which has plus-plus potential. He also has a slurvy curveball. Minor keeps hitters off balance by adding and subtracting from his pitches, has an excellent pickoff move and fields his position well. His ceiling is that of a No. 2 starter.
While Minor figures to make just the one start before being sent back to Triple-A, he could offer value down the road this season. Jurrjens missed 61 days last year with a hamstring injury last season, then 27 days late in the season with a knee injury. With this being his third significant injury in less than a year, Jurrjens could be considered a risk. Given his ineffectiveness last season (4.64 ERA) and below-average peripherals (6.65 K/9, 3.25 BB/9), Minor actually offers a higher upside. He’s currently owned in just four percent of Yahoo! leagues.
Image courtesy of: shockingbird via Flickr
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