This ranking may be our second shocker after Nicholas Purdy, but likely the biggest shocker of the two, ranking at #31 in….
#26: Deivy Alexander Estrada
Right Handed Pitcher / 18 years old / 5’11″ 180 lbs
Born: August 22nd 1992, in Venezuela
Bats Right Throws Right
High School Team: NA
Signed: as an international FA out of Venezuela
Jersey Number: #57 for the GCL Blue Jays
Statistical Rankings with the GCL Jays and in the GCL as a whole:
- 2nd lowest ERA of ALL Jays prospect starters
- 2nd to only Nicholas Purdyin IP and SO for the GCL Jays (allowed 2 fewer HRs than Nick)
- 2nd to Aaron Sanchez in ERA for the GCL Jays amongst pitchers with more than 5 starts
- 12th in GCL ERA rankings amongst pitchers with more than 5 starts
- 17th in IP totals in GCL
I wrote an article about Deivy in early 2010, singling him out as one of the top prospects to watch in 2010. He didn’t disappoint as he did extremely well for a pitcher his age facing older competition in the GCL. When looking at this GCL roster list, you can tell that aside from those who were drafted in 2010 and joined the team late in the season, Deivy was the youngest by 2 years or more. In fact, he’ll still be 18 during the majority of the 2011 season, joining Noah Syndergaard(who is 7 days younger than Deivy) as 2 of the youngest pitchers in the GCL. With a full GCL season under his belt, it only amplifies just how great his performance was after being pushed to the level by the Jays.
It’s possible (barring promotions) that the Jays will field one of the best GCL rotations a fan could ever ask for. If it is as expected, it would also include Noah Syndergaard, Justin Nicolino, Mitchell Taylor, and Nicholas Purdy, giving that squad an electric 1 through 5 that is also balanced with 2 LHP and 3 RHP. Talk about a rotation with potential!
In my “Jays Prospects to Watch” post about Deivy, I had compared him to Jhoulys Chacin and thought that I could do the same this off season in order to keep a good foundation to work from, something that can be tricky when evaluating players from Latin America.
Here are Jhoulys Chacin‘s stats at ages 18 and 19, a full 2 years olderthan Deivy has been at similar levels.
(Though it’s hard to compare the GCL and PIO leagues, but the talent level is about even).
I’d like to first draw attention to the DSL seasons they had, each time being their initial pro seasons. At only 16 years old, Deivy was able to tame the DSL to a statistical level that is very close to the performance put on by Jhoulys Chacinin the same league at 18 years old. Deivy only allowed 1 more hit per 9 innings than Jhoulys, also allowed fewer HRs per 9 innings, and struck out 1.5 more batters per 9 innings than Jhoulys. He did so despite being younger, as well as much smaller framed by 4″ and 22 lbs total!
When we proceed to the Pioneer and GCL performances, the story remains fairly close as well statistically speaking. Both had slight increases in ERAs that were still more than manageable, but Deivy’s whip did increases a little more than Jhoulys. Still, the strikeout rates per 9 innings remained close (7 for Deivy to 7.5 for Jhoulys) and the higher whip from Deivy with a lower ERA than Jhoulys tells me that he was better at pitching his way out of trouble than Jhoulys was. When you factor in the fact that Deivy was only 17 in 2010 while Jhoulys was 19 in his Pioneer League season, it sure makes Deivy look a tad better overall.
Now, having said that I’m not making the comparison because I believe Deivy Estrada will emulate Jhoulys Chacin as he climbs the ladder. I’m just pointing out that thus far, he’s way ahead of the game and is dominant against much older competition. Although he wasn’t as dominant in ’10 as in ’09, h
Need more comparisons? How about the highly touted Alving Mejias, also from the Colorado Rockies, who pitched in the DSL at 18 (with similar results to Deivy and Jhoulys) andjust finished a year in the Pioneer league in 2010. He wound up with a 6.81 ERA, 107 hits given up over 75 innings, and holding runners to a .331 average. Deivy, as you can see above, had a 3.01 ERA, about a hit per inning (55 in 53 IP), and he held runners to a .259 average.
Only Alving Mejias‘s teammate, Albert Campos, can claim a much better “similar level” debut with his 2.05 ERA, 80 hits in 88 IP, anda .244 average against. How was he rated? Well, he was rated the second best prospect in the entire Pioneer league. If Deivy basically matched his results, doesn’t he deserve similar accolades? Sadly, he didn’t make the top 20 prospects in the GCL, as listed by Baseball America. But, I’m positive he’ll make some noise after the 2011 season and finally catch the attention he deserves.
Do I hope he adds an inch or two and 10 or more lbs to his frame? I sure do, because it would make his stuff even better. However, even as he is built today, Deivy has enough stuff to become a dominant pitcher in MLB. After all, he’s only two inches shorter than Kyle Drabek and 12 lbs lighter, so he’s big enough to be a durable pitcher in MLB.
The nice thing about evaluating Deivy’s performance is that we now have a track record to work from, something that is lacking from some of the pitchers who are ranked more highly on our list. His youth, dominance against older competition, and stuff all add up to his getting the attention of many observers. However, since he has yet to get far along enough to be trusted as a top level prospect, there is little information about the stuff he throws actually available on the web. For that, I do apologize, as all I can say is that he is extremely effective and gets the job done.
However, First Inning does provide us with an interesting look at his 2010 performance. The key parts that I noticed in this report of Deivy’sperformances is how many groundballs he induces, with 51% in 2009 and47% in 2010. That tells me he keeps the ball down in the zone very well or that his pitches have enough downward movement to induce groundballs the majority of the time. Also, it’s interesting to note that the batting average for balls in play went down a lot in 2010 in comparison to 2009. That could be due to better defense behind him in the GCL, but it also could point to more movement on his pitches (or just luck while we’re at it!). Either way, it’s n improvement to keep an eye on in 2011.
I’d also like to point out Deivy’sgreat performances in July of 2010. He struck out 41.1% of the batters he faced in the 15.1 IP he had that month and had a very low 1.17 ERA as a result. This after struggling a bit in June, and afterward in August as he most likely tired a little. To me, this is the biggest indicator of just how dominant Deivy was despite being so young for the level he was playing in.
It’s fairly certain at this point that Deivy will be part of the GCL staff in 2011. How promotions play out from that point is impossible to predict, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least to see him make a cameo appearance at a higher level by the time the ’11 season ends. He continues to outpace many others who have come from his background, will likely grow a little more as he matures and leaves his teenage years behind, and is a prospect to keep a very keen eye on.
Expected 2011 Team: GCL Blue Jays
Ultimate ceiling if he puts it all together: A hesitant #2, more likely 3 Starter – (Will be easier to tell post ’11 when more scouting will be available)
We realize that as with Nicholas Purdy, this ranking is both aggressive and far from how others are currently ranking Deivy. However, we feel 100% comfortable with this ranking and will continue to support him until he proves us wrong, or until others outpace or outperform him.