Jair Jurrjens got rocked for 11 runs in a Triple-A start last week and turned in another ugly outing for Gwinnett yesterday, allowing seven runs on 11 hits in 4.1 innings.
Combined between the two starts he’s coughed up 18 runs on 23 hits in nine innings, yet the Braves continue to insist that Jurrjens is making progress and looking good.
Manager Fredi Gonzalez told David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution that there’s “stuff that you guys don’t see on the line score” and “his velocity was up … I think they had him a couple of times at 93, which we hadn’t seen here.”
Jurrjens may indeed be throwing harder and harder, but Triple-A batters are hitting him harder and harder as well. Through five total starts there he has a 6.10 ERA and .313 opponents’ batting average, managing just 16 strikeouts in 31 innings.
Regardless of the velocity readings, the 2011 All-Star is a long way from being back in the majors.
Former Yankees closer Mariano Rivera deservingly became the first player ever inducted into the Hall of Fame unanimously, receiving votes from all 425 writers who submitted ballots. Previously, the closest players to unanimous induction were Ken Griffey, Jr. (99.32% in 2016), Tom Seaver (98.84% in 1992), Nolan Ryan (98.79% in 1999), Cal Ripken, Jr. (98.53%), Ty Cobb (98.23% in 1936), and George Brett (98.19% in 1999).
Because so many greats were not enshrined in Cooperstown unanimously, many voters in the past argued against other players getting inducted unanimously, withholding their votes for otherwise deserving players. That Griffey — both one of the greatest outfielders of all time and one of the most popular players of all time — wasn’t voted in unanimously in 2016, for example, seemed to signal that no player ever would. Now that Rivera has been, this tired argument about voting unanimity can be laid to rest.
Derek Jeter will appear on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time next year. He may become the second player ever to be elected unanimously. David Ortiz appears on the 2022 ballot and could be No. 3. Now that Rivera has broken through, these are possibilities whereas before they might not have been.
Another tired argument around Hall of Fame voting concerns whether or not a player is a “first ballot” Hall of Famer. Some voters think getting enshrined in a player’s first year of eligibility is a greater honor than getting in any subsequent year. I’m not sure what it will take to get rid of this argument — other than the electorate getting younger and more open-minded — but at least we have made progress on at least one bad Hall of Fame take.