Jurik Enjoying the Journey
From Vestal, New York to Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia and stops in between, Dan Jurik blazed a trail through minor league baseball this summer. The former St. John Fisher Cardinal and Webster Yankee listened to the Major League draft with his parents. When the moment came, and he heard his name called, Jurik embarked on a journey he wonâ€™t soon forget.
Jurik started the summer in the Rookie Gulf Coast, made a two-week stop with the Danville Braves of the Appalachian League, and earned a promotion to the Rome Braves of the Class A South Atlantic League. For his efforts the right-hander found himself on the field at Turner Field being introduced with the other top prospects in the Bravesâ€™ organization.
â€œIt went by too fast,â€ commented Jurik of his first time on Turner Field. â€œI wish I could have had more time to savor the moment. You really couldnâ€™t see anyone in the stands because the lights were so bright.â€
The right-hander might need to get used to the bright lights. In 14 appearances this summer, Jurik held opposing hitters to a .221 batting average over 68.2 innings. He struck out 52 while walking just 15 including 17 frames in the South Atlantic League where hitters managed to hit a measly .190 against him.
â€œI worked really hard,â€ said Jurik. â€œI was with the Braves for a reason, and I used the stuff that got me there. I learned to adjust. It doesnâ€™t matter if you are only going to work half of the plate. Guys at the professional level are going to catch up with you. You have to adapt the second time through the lineup.â€
Learning how to adapt is something Jurik realized after his time with Webster in the New York Collegiate Baseball League.
â€œThat summer was a good chance to step outside myself and take a look at what I was doing. I didnâ€™t really have a very good junior year. I was more concerned with trying to blow the ball by guys.â€
Jurik tossed 35 and a third innings with the Webster nine going 1-4 with a 4.71 ERA. NYCBL hitters tagged him at .313.
â€œI was just trying to throw the ball by guys,â€ added Jurik. â€œI canâ€™t think of a specific moment when things changed. My senior year I started changing speeds and using both sides of the plate.â€
Jurik went 7-3 in 14 appearances for the Cardinals striking out 85 while walkingÂ 30 in 77 innings of work. Making the transition to pro ball didnâ€™t seem to change his numbers. In July, he had one appearance where he tossed six shutout innings for the Gulf Coast Braves.
â€œI am not surprised by Danâ€™s success,â€ noted Webster coach, Dave Brust. â€œHe had an impressive strike out to walk ratio with us. He has the tools.â€
Jurik represents the first MLB draft pick in the 60-year existence of St. John Fisher College.Â Atlanta chose the 6â€™4? right-hander in the 25th round with 764th pick. He went 3-0 with the Gulf Coast Braves and earned the teamâ€™s pitcher of the year honors.
â€œYou canâ€™t re-invent yourself because you are playing at a higher level,â€ said Jurik.
For now, Jurik will return to the campus of St. John Fisher in Pittsford, New York and workout with the Cardinals.
â€œI will probably start throwing again in November. I will need to find a part-time job for a little money.â€
Jurikâ€™s journey in the pro ranks will continue next February. Maybe this time next year he wonâ€™t need that part-time job.