Marco Estrada Has Become the Blue Jays’ Unexpected Ace


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Not only has Marco Estrada’s rise to prominence been quite unexpected, it’s surprising that he’s continually improved with each start.

Following his unprecedented 2015, many thought there was very little chance of him reproducing those results again. After all, Estrada was very much blessed by the BABIP Gods last season and was likely due for a regression.

Well, that regression hasn’t come yet; if anything, Estrada is actually getting better.

Marco Estrada’s BABIP has sunken even lower, which currently sits at .207. He may no longer be due for a regression, as his batting average on balls in play has steadily decreased since 2013.

It’s looking more like Estrada is simply a master of inducing weak contact and creating easy-to-catch pop flies on the regular. In addition to his changeup, that’s why Marco Estrada has enjoyed so much success as of late.

Estrada definitely fits the profile of the kind of player that flies under the radar. He began the season on the disabled list, but ever since, he’s put forth some of the best numbers for a starting pitcher in the American League.


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Marco Estrada currently ranks Top 5 in the American League in ERA (2.43), opponents’ batting average (.177) and WHIP (1.02). Estrada has been everything the Blue Jays needed and more.

The term “ace” is one which is thrown around far too often, but in Estrada’s case, it might be warranted. Marcus Stroman was anointed as the Blue Jays’ ace heading into the 2016 season, but he’s experienced his fair share of struggles through the first few months of the season.

One day, Stroman may become a number one starter and eventually the “ace” of the Blue Jays pitching staff. But for the time being, that title should be bestowed upon Marco Estrada.

The way Estrada is able to keep hitters off-balance with his signature pitch – the changeup – is something very few pitchers have mastered. Estrada possesses arguably the best changeup in the game, one which has continually stymied hitters since his move to the starting rotation.

Marco Estrada has transformed his changeup into an art form, using the very same armslot and release point for a pitch that’s about 11 MPH slower than his fastball.

Estrada was a revelation for the Blue Jays in 2015, both during the regular season and the playoffs. At the time of his contract extension, the halo effect was still felt from Estrada’s remarkable performance in the ALCS, and thus he was rewarded handsomely.


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But Marco Estrada may have only scratched the surface for his potential after that Game 5 ALCS performance. His game against the Yankees created a very similar vibe to that game.

If Marco Estrada can continue to perform at even 75% of this level, it may not be very long before he becomes the new number one pitcher in town.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

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