Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #41 Marco Estrada

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After an expected three day hiatus, “Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers” is back as we are 41 days away from Opening Day.

I call the hiatus expected because both 44 and 42 are retired by the Milwaukee Brewers and while 43 used to be worn by Randy Wolf, it was taken over by bullpen coach Lee Tunnell after he joined the coaching staff back during the 2012 season.

Anyway, on to bidness.

As mentioned, we’re 41 days away so let’s focus our collective attention on…

Marco Estrada.


The 30-year-old Mexican native began his 2013 reporting to Brewers camp but quickly joined his Brewers teammate Yovani Gallardo by leaving camp to participate in the World Baseball Classic. He didn’t have the results he wanted in his one start for Team Mexico and reported back to Maryvale Baseball Park ready to improve on 2012’s solid if truncated campaign.

Unfortunately, more health issues were in the cards for Estrada in 2013.

After missing more than a month of 2012 due to a right quadriceps injury suffered while running the bases, Estrada pitched just 138.1 innings across 29 appearances (23 starts). In 2013, Estrada could only muster 128.0 IP over 21 starts. That was because of a strained left hamstring suffered in a start on June 3rd.

It was especially frustrating because I remember after that game that Estrada told the media that he didn’t think it was very serious at all and was optimistic about making his next start in five days. He wouldn’t pitch again for Milwaukee until August 7th — over two months later.

And that’s been the major problem with Estrada to this point. He puts up good numbers. Very solid rates, a strong set of peripherals to go along with his traditional stats and advanced metrics. For example, he posted a 3.87 ERA in 2013 nearly matching his FIP of 3.86. He was a little down on his strikeout rate last year, but improved on his WHIP in posting a career best 1.078.

So the thing is, when Estrada was on the mound, he was putting up solid performances more often than not. He had 12 “Quality Starts” and only five starts I would consider truly bad, and one of those was the game in which he hurt him hamstring.

Estrada also finished the season very strong. He had six quality starts in the nine he made after returning from the disabled list, including his last four of the year. Over his last six starts he struck out 44 in 41.2 innings pitched and walked only 10 total.

He’s a quality rotation option for the latter half of a rotation and the Brewers have been capitalizing on that when they can. Barring injury, Estrada should break camp firmly entrenched as a starting pitcher for the Milwaukee Brewers. Whether they throw him fourth or fifth will probably have as much to do with who pitches third in Ron Roenicke’s rotation as it will anything else.

Wily Peralta has the higher ceiling and he also throws much harder, but he’s much more inconsistent and has had some trouble getting out of the gates the last two seasons. Some managers enjoy mixing up styles of pitching in their rotation. If Kyle Lohse pitches third, for example, that style of thinking would lead to Peralta fourth with Estrada going fifth.

Regardless of who he follows though, Estrada needs to be in the rotation. I’ve made no secret that I prefer Estrada to start but the numbers just flat out back it up. Here’s a direct link to his career splits by role (Starter vs Reliever) at the infinitely useful The sample size as reliever is a little smaller, but it’s a clear distinction.

Let me bottom line it.

Estrada needs to start. He will start, barring injury. He’ll contribute solid numbers and help the Milwaukee Brewers win baseball games.

Simple enough?

Miss anyone along the way? Catch up on the Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers profiles to this point:


  1. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #40 Johnny Hellweg « The Brewer Nation
  2. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #38 Wily Peralta « The Brewer Nation
  3. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #32 Tom Gorzelanny « The Brewer Nation
  4. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #30 Tyler Thornburg « The Brewer Nation
  5. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #29 Jim Henderson « The Brewer Nation
  6. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #27 Carlos Gomez « The Brewer Nation
  7. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #26 Kyle Lohse « The Brewer Nation
  8. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #25 Hunter Morris « The Brewer Nation
  9. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #24 Lyle Overbay « The Brewer Nation
  10. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #23 Rickie Weeks « The Brewer Nation
  11. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #22 Matt Garza « The Brewer Nation
  12. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #21 Juan Francisco « The Brewer Nation
  13. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #20 Jonathan Lucroy « The Brewer Nation
  14. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #18 Khris Davis « The Brewer Nation
  15. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #16 Aramis Ramirez « The Brewer Nation
  16. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #15 Caleb Gindl « The Brewer Nation
  17. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #14 Jeff Bianchi « The Brewer Nation
  18. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #13 Will Smith « The Brewer Nation
  19. Pingback: Brewers By the (Jersey) Numbers ’14 – #12 Martin Maldonado « The Brewer Nation

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