He’s 2-0, but Jair Jurrjens is in trouble. So writes Tom Verducci of SI.com, who places the 23-year-old Braves ninth on a list of 10 young pitchers at risk. The Verducci Theory: A pitcher under 25 whose workload has increased by 30 or more innings is in immediate peril.
Yes, there’s evidence to support his case. On the other hand, what exactly is a club to do? Jurrjens went from working 143 innings in 2007 to 188 in 2008. That happened for two reasons: First, he was really good in 2008, and second, he was the only member of the Braves’ rotation not to get hurt.
Writing for ESPN.com, Buster Olney examines the innings-equal-arm-trouble dynamic as it applies to Philadelphia’s Cole Hamels, who has indeed developed soreness in the ol’ soupbone. But Olney makes the same salient point: Philly was trying to win a championship in 2008; would it have made sense to shut down its best pitcher in October — indeed, Hamels would be MVP of both the NLCS and the World Series — for the sake of sparing the wear and tear?
We can all agree the Cubs mishandled Kerry Wood, who worked 166 innings — and amassed some frightening pitch counts — at the age of 21. But most teams are smart enough to know what Verducci knows, and the Braves are among them. They didn’t rush Charlie Morton to the majors, and they’re not rushing Tommy Hanson. And they’re being careful with Jurrjens.
But, just to err on the side of caution, I propose this: Let Jurrjens work no more than four innings in any start. That will save his arm and shouldn’t have a deleterious effect on the team. As we know, the Braves’ middle relievers are utterly incapable of blowing, say, a seven-run lead.
(And here, from Eric Seidman of FanGraphs, is another take on the Verducci Effect. Kudos, as we say on Facebook, to Matt T for sending the link.)
As has been noted, the Japanese media has been all over Kenshin Kawakami since Day 1 of spring training. As you’re aware, Kawakami won his first start Saturday night. Me, I got to wondering how a Japanese newspaper’s account of the event might look. Here, from the Sankei Shimbun, is the answer.
And I can’t swear to it, but I believe somewhere in the article Bobby Cox is quoted as saying: “He threw good, for me.”
It wouldn’t be a Buzz without a mock draft from Don Banks of SI.com, and here’s Version 5.0. Notice that he now has Matthew Stafford going 10th overall, as opposed to fourth. Notice that he has Knowshon Moreno going 21st, as opposed to nowhere in Round 1. Notice that he has the Falcons taking Brian Cushing, a linebacker from Southern Cal, with the 24th pick, as opposed to tight end Brandon Pettigrew of Oklahoma State.
And, having scanned enough draft boards these past few months to last me a lifetime, I can report that nothing much shocks me anymore. But this, from Yahoo! Sports, did: A big board that ranks Moreno as a better all-around prospect than Stafford.
Speaking of Stafford: Gil Brandt of NFL.com says the San Francisco 49ers, who hold the draft’s 10th pick, will have him in for a follow-up interview. You’ll recall Niners coach Mike Singletary made the bizarre claim that San Fran wanted no part of Stafford because he didn’t care to speak about his parents’ divorce. (Thanks to faithful correspondent Ted Striker for relaying this item.) Perhaps this time the questions will be more along the lines of, “If you were a tree, what kind would you be?”
Back to the Falcons: Sporting News Today analyzes their draft needs and decides, wonder of wonders, that they’ll be seeking defensive help. Knock me over with a sledgehammer!
In January, I guessed the Falcons would draft a cornerback with their first pick. I’m herewith announcing a change of mind: I now think they’ll take a defensive tackle. (If Banks gets five mock drafts, shouldn’t I be able to flip-flop one measly time?) Don’t know if it’ll be Evander (Ziggy) Hood, but I wouldn’t gripe if it is.
G-Day: The aftermath
I recommend turning to AJC.com for all your Georgia Bulldog coverage needs. But if you’ve done that and you’re still thirsting for more, I also endorse the journalistic stylings of David Paschall in the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Despite the obvious handicap of having gone to Auburn, David knows college football as well as I know … well, I don’t know anything about anything, so maybe I’m not the greatest comparison.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
But I digress. Here’s Paschall’s typically astute gamer from G-Day — lots of dropped passes, he writes — and here’s a notebook that leads with frosh quarterbacks Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger.
Givin’ it to Flip
Remember how upset I was that Josh Childress left for Greece? Well, I still wish he hadn’t. But I’d be lying if I didn’t credit general manager Rick Sund for signing Flip Murray and Mo Evans. Indeed, Ian Thomsen of SI.com lists Flip as the NBA’s third-best sixth man in his survey of NBA executives. (Actually, Thomsen’s poll has Murray tied for third with Nate Robinson of the Knicks.)
And who’s the league’s best sixth man? According to Thomsen’s polling, it’s Jason Terry of Dallas — another former Hawk. Rick Sund had nothing to do with that one, though. And me, I was never sorry to see Terry go.