DSL Cardinals Reliever of the Year: 2008

Eduard Estalis delivered the top performance by a relief pitcher on the 2008 Dominican Summer League Cardinals.

My pick as Reliever of the Year from the Dominican Summer League Cardinals in 2008 goes to closer Eduard Estalis. After the team tried out several pitchers in the closer's role, Estalis was given a chance and took it on as if he was made for the job.

As you will see in the charts below, he turned 10 of 13 chances into saves and only two other pitchers picked up saves during the year. Estalis' initial month was a little shaky, which is probably due to this being his first season and his being new in the role. After that, he was "the man", only allowing four earned runs in his last 23.1 innings.

Angel DeJesus made a good case, but was moved into the rotation in the last month of the season. You could also consider Alejandro Pinales, who did a great job as the team's most frequently-used long reliever and set-up man. His walks were low and he had a team-high five holds. But holds do not win a game and he blew two of three save opportunities.

Just looking at some of the relievers on this team, you could likely throw a handful into Pinales' role and get a similar result (not exact). Being a closer takes on a whole different realm for a player.

The following monthly stats illustrate Estalis' consistent excellence compared to his peers.

2008 DSL Cardinals Bullpen (listed by innings pitched by month)

May/June G IP Hits R (ER) BB K Holds SV/BS
Alejandro Pinales 5 14 8 2 (2) 2 14 2 0/1
Angel DeJesus 7 14 10 5 (4) 11 11 0 0/1
Eduard Estalis 8 11 8 5 (5) 5 17 0 4/1
Pedro Pena 7 11 16 9 (8) 2 13 1 0/1
Amaury Castillo 6 10 10 9 (8) 10 11 0 0/0
July
Alejandro Pinales 7 19 14 9 (8) 5 10 2 1/0
Eduard Estalis 9 13 12 4 (2) 11 13 0 3/2
Amaury Castillo 7 13 6 9 (7) 13 18 1 0/0
Pedro Pena 3 11 9 3 (2) 7 10 0 0/0
Walter Santos 4 9.1 15 11 (6) 2 7 0 0/0
Eddy Rivera 6 9.1 2 1 (1) 9 16 0 0/0
August
Carlos Mejia 6 21 12 3 (3) 4 15 0 0/0
Pedro Pena 5 13 10 10 (9) 9 18 1 0/0
Alejandro Pinales 5 12 7 3 (2) 4 8 1 0/1
Eduard Estalis 7 10 7 2 (2) 2 9 0 3/0
Charllan Jimenez 3 9 3 0 (0) 1 5 0 0/0

Estalis' season

The 19-year-old right-hander made 24 relief appearances (finishing 21) posting a 5-3 record, with a 2.31 ERA, collecting ten saves, and blowing three saves. He allowed 27 hits, 11 runs (nine earned), hit two batters, walked 17 and struck out 40 over 35 innings. His WHIP was 1.26 and opponents batted .213 vs. him. Estalis threw five wild pitches, committed two errors, had a 41-22 ground out-fly out ratio, and let three of nine inherited runners-score.

The Cardinals' November 2007 free agent signing he made his professional debut on June 5 and blew his first save opportunity. Estalis had a scoreless streak from June 15-28 (five games, 5.2 innings) and didn't allow a run in 16 games. The 6'1" 172-pounder also didn't allow a hit in ten games and had a short hitless streak for three games from June 23-28. One of Estalis' best games came August 20, when he logged four scoreless innings (season high) allowing two hits, one walk, hit a batter, and struck out a season high five batters. Only three of the Haitian-born prospect's appearances he allowed two or more runs in.

Estalis should be back for another year in the DSL in 2009 to most likely nail down the closer role, getting additional save opportunities if the team can be in the position to win more games.



Note: Like the details on Estalis above, you can read individual capsules on each of the club's relievers in our recent four-part series recapping the 2008 DSL Cardinals season.



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