Blue Jays Year In Review: The Good, Bad, & the Ugly – Marco Estrada

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 27: Marco Estrada
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 27: Marco Estrada /

Jays Journal takes a look back at 2017, and the good, bad, and the ugly of each individual performance from the roster. We move on to Marco Estrada, the recently extended starter who has pitched his way into stardom with the Toronto Blue Jays since arriving in 2015.

Remember how upset people were that all the Blue Jays got for Adam Lind was a terrible, home run happy pitcher in Marco Estrada? Yeah, I don’t think you’ll find any Blue Jays fan who jumped for joy when Estrada was acquired, myself included. Now, everyone loves him. Myself included. I own a Marco Estrada jersey and am thrilled the Blue Jays extended him.

Estrada has been one of the most clutch playoff performers over the past two playoff runs. He always came up big in each of his starts through the past two runs to the ALCS. Even the games he wasn’t dominant, he still pitched well.

Marco Estrada has become a fan favourite due to his past 3 seasons and his ability to come up big in playoff games. However, it’s his desire to be a Toronto Blue Jay and remain in the city of Toronto that has made him such a likable player as well. Let’s take a look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly from the 2017 season for Marco Estrada.

The Good 

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The Good for Marco Estrada began right on Opening Day when he made his first career Opening Day assignment for the Blue Jays. The good continued for Estrada over the course of the first 2 months of the season with a 2.70 ERA in April and 3.49 ERA in the month of May.

What the most impressive thing for Estrada over the seasons first two months was the incredible increase in strikeouts. In the month of April, Estrada’s K% was 26.8. In May it was at 28.7%. It was a big hike in strikeouts, something he did not do much of over the first two seasons he spent with the Blue Jays. Also impressive was his BAA of .223 and .227 in April and May respectively.

As we will discuss later in this piece, Estrada finished the season strong with a 3.68 ERA in September. It was an encouraging finish to the season for Estrada who experienced some terrible struggles in the middle months of the season. When he started to turn it around towards the end of the season, the Blue Jays and Marco Estrada came together for the contract extension that is good for 2018 worth $13 million. It was an encouraging end to a roller coaster year for Estrada.

The Bad

There was some bad for Marco Estrada in 2017 and the bad was really the first time in his Blue Jays tenure that he experienced some bad. Part of the bad is going to be saved for the Ugly section of this year in review but there was still a pretty bad stretch of baseball in the middle of the season for Estrada.

In July he sported a 6.48 ERA despite a very respectable .237 batting average against. Despite the dip in ERA in August to 5.35, the batting average against rose to .276. Over the course of these two months, Estrada walked 28 batters and allowed a total of 11 home runs. The OBP against was .345 OBP in July and .335 in August.

As you can see above by the stats, it wasn’t a very good stretch for Marco Estrada. Unfortunately for Estrada and the Blue Jays, that wasn’t the worst.

The Ugly

Alluded to above, the bad stretch of July and August wasn’t even the worst of the stretch for Marco Estrada. The Ugly stretch of baseball for Marco Estrada came in the month of June and boy, was it ever ugly.

Here is the month of June for Marco Estrada:

27.2 IP, 9.11 ERA, 6 HR, 18 BB, .347/.432/.613 and a wOBA of .435

It was not a pretty stretch of the season for Estrada. Some wonder if the weight of the trade deadline got to Estrada. The more the Blue Jays faded, the more the trade talks surrounding Estrada grew with his upcoming free agency. In an ideal world, Estrada would have been traded at the deadline and potentially re-sign for 2018. The poor performance led to the Blue Jays keeping Estrada and it’s also no surprise that he slowly got back to the Marco Estrada Blue Jays fans know and love.

The weight of the trade deadline, free agency, as well as some reported other off-field issues, led to the mid-season struggles for Estrada. There was no uglier stretch than the June that Estrada experienced.

Projecting 2018

Despite the underperforming Marco Estrada in 2017, Blue Jays fans should be excited for the return of Marco Estrada. It was extremely encouraging and exciting that Estrada bounced back towards the end of the season to get back to the guy he used to be the past two seasons.

I would expect Marco Estrada to get back to the guy he’s been with the Blue Jays his first two seasons as a Blue Jay. If he doesn’t make it all the way back, he can still be a very good middle of the rotation arm with the likes of J.A. Happ and be worth 3.0 wins. Despite the struggles, he still posted a 2.6 fWAR.

Next: Blue Jays Year In Review: Devon Travis

Marco Estrada will be very reliable in 2018 and that will be key to a rebound for the Blue Jays next season. If Marco Estrada is the same guy or close to the same guy he was in 2015 and 2016, there’s a major step back towards the post-season.