Marco Estrada (baseball)
||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2010)|
Estrada with the Washington Nationals
|Milwaukee Brewers – No. 41|
July 5, 1983 |
Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, Mexico
|Bats: Right||Throws: Right|
|August 20, 2008 for the Washington Nationals|
(through July 7, 2014)
|Earned run average||4.34|
A graduate of Sylmar High School in Sylmar, California, Estrada attended Glendale Community College and Long Beach State University. He was selected by the Washington Nationals in the sixth round of the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft.
After being drafted by Washington, Estrada began his minor league career pitching for the Vermont Expos in the short-season New York-Penn League. In three starts and six relief appearances, he pitched 33⅔ innings, compiling a win–loss record of 1–3 and an ERA of 5.08. During that time, he struck out 37 batters while issuing 16 walks.
Estrada spent the 2006 season with the GCL Nationals, Washington's affiliate in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, and the Savannah Sand Gnats of the Class A South Atlantic League. He accrued a record of 3 wins and 4 losses and a 3.98 ERA over 61 innings, consisting of 12 starts and 1 appearance in relief, striking out a total of 56 batters and walking 20.
In 2007, Estrada pitched for the GCL Nationals, the Class A Hagerstown Suns of the South Atlantic League, and the Potomac Nationals in the Class A-Advanced Carolina League. He logged 105⅔ innings in 23 starts, winning 6, losing 8, and recording a 4.85 ERA with 102 strikeouts and 37 walks.
Estrada began the 2008 season with the Harrisburg Senators of the Double-A Eastern League, where he pitched 74⅓ innings in 13 starts, accruing an ERA of 2.66, striking out 67 batters and walking 32. In June he was promoted to the Syracuse Chiefs of the Triple-A International League. He was called up to the majors on August 19 and made his debut the next day. He made 11 appearances as a reliever that season. He pitched in four games (including one start) for the Nationals in 2009, but played the majority of the season with Syracuse.
On February 3, 2010, Estrada was claimed off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers. He began the season with the Triple-A Pacific Coast League's Nashville Sounds. He was recalled to the big league club and made his Brewers debut on May 18, 2010, entering the game against the Cincinnati Reds as a relief pitcher in the 5th inning. He recorded nine consecutive outs through three innings before giving up a solo home run to Joey Votto in the bottom of the 8th. He also made his first official at-bat in that game, grounding out in the 6th. He was outrighted to Nashville after the season.
On April 6, 2011, Estrada was again called up to the majors, taking the injured Zack Greinke's spot in the starting rotation. Estrada became the long reliever and the backup starter for the Brewers pitching rotation.
2011 was Estrada's first successful season in the major leagues. Between being the long reliever and backup starter (starting in a total of seven games), Estrada pitched in 92.2 innings, posted a 4.08 ERA, and struck out 88 batters for an impressive 8.5 K/9. It was by far Estrada's most productive stint in the majors. From 2008 to 2010, Estrada only pitched in a total of 31.1 innings, and never posted an ERA below 6.00.
Estrada spent almost the entire 2012 season in the starting rotation after a season-ending injury to Chris Narveson and an injury and eventual release of Randy Wolf. As a result, Estrada had the best season of his career, posting a 5-7 record, a 3.64 ERA in 138.1 innings to go along with 143 strikeouts. On January 18, 2013, the Brewers announced they had avoided arbitration with Estrada, signing him to a one-year contract worth $1.955 million.
After spending 3 seasons as a long distance reliever and alternative starter, Estrada was named to the Brewers starting rotation for the 2013 season.
Estrada has three primary pitches. A straight four-seam fastball generally averaging around 91-92 mph, but can be thrown as high as 95. He also has a strong curveball averaging in the low 80's, and a changeup averaging in the upper 70's to lower 80's with considerable downward movement, considered by many to be his best pitch. His 2011 season with the Milwaukee Brewers was considered a breakout season due in large part to much better command of his pitches. His 2.8 BB/9 in 2011 was a vast improvement over his previous three seasons in the majors. He is also a talented strikeout pitcher, having a career 9.1 K/9.
Path to the Majors
Estrada began his MLB career in the majors at age 24 with the Washington Nationals. His first three seasons only saw him produce a total of 31.1 innings pitched between the Nationals and the Brewers, and over the course of those three years, he posted an ERA of 8.04, hardly good enough to maintain a roster spot for any team. Despite this, the Brewers stuck with Estrada, and once he found his command, his naturally good pitches began to show that he was a late bloomer and a success story. He is one of only ten pitchers in MLB history to break the 100 innings pitched plateau at age 28 or higher, and the only one to do so with a K/9 of 9.0 or higher.
Estrada has transformed from a fringe major league pitcher with good stuff and poor command into a reliable starter for the Brewers organization. His ability to go out and strike out ten or more batters in starts on a semi-regular basis has always been in the cards, but his ability to control the ball as well as he does was never a likelihood early in his career. Estrada's 2012 K/BB ratio of 4.93 is an elite number, showing that not only has he evolved into an excellent strikeout pitcher, but that his command is outstanding as well.
- Piliere, Frankie (January 13, 2006). "Scouting Prospect #49: Marco Estrada". Scout.com. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
- Haudricourt, Tom (April 6, 2011). "Estrada summoned; Merklinger designated". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved April 7, 2011.
- Kruth, Cash (January 18, 2013). "Axford among trio to avoid arbitration with Brewers". MLB.com. Retrieved January 18, 2013.
- Zettel, Nicholas. "The Inimitable Marco Estrada". Disciples of Uecker.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)