Last season was a long-awaited breakout for a guy whose upside prospect hounds loved for a long time. Estrada was a sixth-round pick in 2017, and the electricity of his arm was evident from the moment he reported to Arizona late that summer, but serious elbow trouble sidelined him for nearly all of 2018 and 2019. The pandemic kept him from appearing in any game action in 2020 and waylaid his development further. Finally healthy and with the runway before him, though, Estrada took off in 2022, the way his fastball seems to do as it bears down on hitters. He could be a relief ace–a capital-C Closer, if you prefer to think that way–in the majors, and if it happens, it’s as likely to happen this season as ever. His slider will miss bats consistently, just by virtue of having the cut-ride action of his four-seamer off of which to twist and roil. The only question is whether Estrada can throw enough strikes to reach his ceiling, or whether walks will consign him to a career of tantalizing front offices and fan bases as waiver fodder.
Sadly, South Bend's season has been over for a while, but Iowa, Tennessee, and Myrtle Beach entered the week with things to play for. How'd Myrtle Beaches' first playoff series go? Tennessee saw a handful of reinforcements make their way to them; how did each of them do? Find out this week in our recap!
Though it's suddenly far from being their only flaw, the Cubs' bullpen has been a persistent problem this year. Three relievers currently pitching for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs could change that, and it's nearly time to give them their chance.
Amid another tough loss for the Cubs on Saturday, one bright spot was the performance of Jeremiah Estrada. The rookie reliever might be emerging as a new relief ace for the team--if he can find a way to get a little more use out of his breaking ball.