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The Decline And Fall Of Jair Jurrjens' Ground Ball Rate

The Braves' Jair Jurrjens has been pretty good since returning from the hamstring injury that cost him two months of his season. He's put up a 3.45 ERA and has struck out more than seven batters per nine innings (better than his career rate). He's also pitched at least six innings in each of those seven starts (not counting tonight's start).

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There has been one odd downside to his return to form, though. Jurrjens has put up only one game with a ground ball rate of more than 45%; not coincidentally, this was his best start of the year, on July 20th against the Padres. While Jurrjens is not a huge ground ball pitcher, it's important to note that higher ground ball rates are helpful, and Jurrjens' ground ball rate this year is at a very low 39% (his career average and the league average are both around 45%).

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This trend is not new, either. Jurrjens' ground ball rate has declined from 52% in 2008 to 43% in 2009 to this year's 39%. It might just be a fluke, and it certainly doesn't mean that we should worry about Jurrjens. But it is something to keep an eye on in the future.

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Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.