Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/14/14
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Marco Estrada had the pitcher’s version of the season teammate Carlos Gomez had in 2012: solid, sporadic first-half play followed by second-half dominance. In 12 starts from July 30 until the end of the season, Estrada went 5-3 with a 2.80 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 8.66 K/9, and 1.91 BB/9 in 70.2 innings. He featured four pitches — four-seamer, curveball, and change-up — at least 17% of the time, and he averaged a 12.4-mph gap between his fastball and change. Interestingly, his change-up checked in at a tick below league average (-0.13 RAA per 100 pitches), but his four-seamer was a well-above average pitch at 0.99 RAA per 100. That rate was good enough for 13th among the 111 pitchers who threw at least 130 innings in 2012. But Estrada’s real strength is his ability to limit walks. Much of that is how often he used his fastball when he was behind in the count (particularly versus RHP). At the risk of sounding like a broken record, any starting pitcher that varies three or more pitches with th...
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