Estrada Remains Very Crafty

Sometimes young raw power arms learn how to pitch as the years go on, tweaking their mechanics, refining their pitches, and improving their command. Others, however, master the craft of pitching first and hope their velocity picks up down the road. GCL hurler Deivy Estrada fits better into the latter category.

With a changeup as his definitive out-pitch, Blue Jays' prospect Deivy Estrada is a command pitcher.

"Command is my game," Estrada said with the help of a translator.

Estrada, the 18-year-old right-hander, is from Venezuela, but is now in his third season in the Toronto organization. He spent his first season in the Dominican Summer League and followed it up with a trip to the Gulf Coast League last year. Though he throws a fastball and curveball as well, it's his changeup that Estrada counts on to get him outs.

"I use it whenever [the time] comes; 2-2, 1-1, 0-2, two outs," Estrada said. "I can throw this pitch whenever. I trust this pitch."

GCL Pitching Coach John Wesley likes the progress Estrada has made from 2010 to now, specifically noting the incline of approximately four miles per hour to his fastball. However, it's still his ability to pitch, not just throw, that makes him so good.

"Right now, he's (sitting) 84 to 88, and having tremendous success even at that velocity," stated Wesley. "He's a great example to all the other guys that have the 95 mile per hour arms that get hit around the park, where this guy can do it and he doesn't have what you have. He gets the most out of his ability."

In 12 games last season, eight of which were starts, the 5-foot-11 right-hander was 4-3 with a 3.02 ERA. Batters hit .259 against him, and his strikeout to walk ratio was 42:21.

This season, he is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 16 innings this season. He's struck out 18 and walked three, holding batters to a .233 average in his three starts on the mound.

"Estrada is a crafty [righty] who has the ability to pitch at a young age," Wesley said. "He can move the ball back and forth, he can change speeds, he can throw any of his three pitches in any count.

"[He's] very, very crafty, knows what he's doing, can control the running game; very advanced in that aspect of his game."

Continuing to focus on the improvements and changes Estrada has made in his two years with the team, Wesley also spoke about the difference in the righty's delivery.

"He's gotten a lot better since last year with his delivery," Wesley stated. "It's cleaned up a lot. He's staying on his line, he's working over the ball. Last year, he was getting around it a little bit."

Estrada also must deal with the transition of playing baseball in America instead of Venezuela. Coach Wesley has only seen positives from Estrada since coming to America.

"It was pretty damn good," Wesley said of the transition. "He showed up and was a pitcher right away; wasn't a thrower, he never tried to do more than what he had in him.

"He doesn't overthrow out there. He knows what makes him good and I think just that confidence in knowing what to do, knowing what you're doing is the right thing no matter what happens behind you, at that age, is very tough."

For Estrada, the transition from a Venezuelan baseball diamond to one in America isn't any different. Wherever he's playing ball, he just wants to get better.

"I don't see any difference," Estrada said. "For me, baseball is the same. Here or there, I'm trying to learn every day."


Future Jays Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nWith a changeup as his definitive out-pitch, Blue Jays' prospect Deivy Estrada is a command pitcher.
\r\n
\r\n\"Command is my game,\" Estrada said with the help of a translator.
\r\n
\r\nEstrada, the 18-year-old right-hander, is from Venezuela, but is now in his third season in the Toronto organization. He spent his first season in the Dominican Summer League and followed it up with a trip to the Gulf Coast League last year. Though he throws a fastball and curveball as well, it's his changeup that Estrada counts on to get him outs.
\r\n
\r\n\"I use it whenever [the time] comes; 2-2, 1-1, 0-2, two outs,\" Estrada said. \"I can throw this pitch whenever. I trust this pitch.\"
\r\n
\r\nGCL Pitching Coach John Wesley likes the progress Estrada has made from 2010 to now, specifically noting the incline of approximately four miles per hour to his fastball. However, it's still his ability to pitch, not just throw, that makes him so good.
\r\n
\r\n\"Right now, he's (sitting) 84 to 88, and having tremendous success even at that velocity,\" stated Wesley. \"He's a great example to all the other guys that have the 95 mile per hour arms that get hit around the park, where this guy can do it and he doesn't have what you have. He gets the most out of his ability.\"
\r\n
\r\nIn 12 games last season, eight of which were starts, the 5-foot-11 right-hander was 4-3 with a 3.02 ERA. Batters hit .259 against him, and his strikeout to walk ratio was 42:21.
\r\n
\r\nThis season, he is 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 16 innings this season. He's struck out 18 and walked three, holding batters to a .233 average in his three starts on the mound.
\r\n
\r\n\"Estrada is a crafty [righty] who has the ability to pitch at a young age,\" Wesley said. \"He can move the ball back and forth, he can change speeds, he can throw any of his three pitches in any count.
\r\n
\r\n\"[He's] very, very crafty, knows what he's doing, can control the running game; very advanced in that aspect of his game.\"
\r\n
\r\nContinuing to focus on the improvements and changes Estrada has made in his two years with the team, Wesley also spoke about the difference in the righty's delivery.
\r\n
\r\n\"He's gotten a lot better since last year with his delivery,\" Wesley stated. \"It's cleaned up a lot. He's staying on his line, he's working over the ball. Last year, he was getting around it a little bit.\"
\r\n
\r\nEstrada also must deal with the transition of playing baseball in America instead of Venezuela. Coach Wesley has only seen positives from Estrada since coming to America.
\r\n
\r\n\"It was pretty damn good,\" Wesley said of the transition. \"He showed up and was a pitcher right away; wasn't a thrower, he never tried to do more than what he had in him.
\r\n
\r\n\"He doesn't overthrow out there. He knows what makes him good and I think just that confidence in knowing what to do, knowing what you're doing is the right thing no matter what happens behind you, at that age, is very tough.\"
\r\n
\r\nFor Estrada, the transition from a Venezuelan baseball diamond to one in America isn't any different. Wherever he's playing ball, he just wants to get better.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't see any difference,\" Estrada said. \"For me, baseball is the same. Here or there, I'm trying to learn every day.\"
\r\n
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