“Tell your statistics to shut up.” — Charlie Brown
I don’t want to believe the statistics. What they tell me is that Jurrjens’ 2.60 ERA last year is unsustainable, that he didn’t “really” pitch any better than he did in 2008, that he was just lucky. And that he could pitch just as well in 2010 and see his ERA go up a run just like it went down a run last year.
But that 2.60 ERA looks awfully nice.
It’s not an unearned/earned thing like I sometimes harp on, as he had all of one fewer unearned run in 2009. Jurrjens’ main peripheral stats last year were just about the same as in 2008. His strikeout rate went from 6.6 per nine to 6.4, his walk rate from 3.3 to 3.1, his home run rate from 0.5 to 0.6. The variance is so small that it’s likely just random. The exception is his hit rate; it went from 9.0 to 7.8. Normally, I’d say that’s just luck, but I don’t want to. You should recall that I am the person who talked himself into thinking that [NAME REDACTED] could continue to pitch well because he knew how to get out of jams even though I knew perfectly well that his statistics couldn’t maintain that performance.
Interestingly, Jurrjens’ ERA luck didn’t translate to wins. He went from 13-10 to 14-10. That is also just one of those things. He tied for fourth in the league in quality start percentage, the team just didn’t hit when he pitched… Controlled the running game much better, going from allowing 28 stolen bases in 31 attempts to 14 in 21. This doesn’t account for much of the ERA difference, but it did help.