Blengino: Marco Estrada, AL contact manager of the year

From SABR member Tony Blengino at FanGraphs on October 14, 2015:

Coming into the postseason, the Blue Jays were regarded widely as the favorites to win it all. A historically great offense, a souped-up roster fueled by the trading deadline acquisitions of Troy Tulowitzki and David Price… what could possibly go wrong? Well, the vagaries of postseason randomness quickly paid them a visit, and within 24 hours from the first pitch of Game 1, they had found themselves Hanser Alberto-ed within one game of extinction.

Until Marco Estrada saved them, at least temporarily. A journeyman who turned 32 this summer and who, until this year, had never even pitched enough innings in a season to qualify for an ERA title. The same guy who this season nosed out the likes of Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh and Sonny Gray for AL Contact Manager of the Year honors.

 Estrada has taken the road less traveled to his current position. Born in Mexico, Estrada went to high school in California, where he then bounced through Glendale Community College and finally Long Beach State University. He put up numbers at Long Beach State, where he was a Saturday starter. Tons of notable team officials saw him, as his shortstop was Tulowitzki, who would go 7th overall to the Rockies in the 2005 draft. However, he wasn’t even the first Dirtbag pitcher selected that year: lefty Cesar Ramos was selected by the Padres in the sandwich round. Both Estrada, by the Nationals, and Neil Jamison, also by the Padres, followed in the 6th round. Estrada simply lacked the height (he stands 6’0″) and raw stuff to impress the MLB masses.

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Originally published: October 14, 2015. Last Updated: October 14, 2015.