Regression doesn't punch a time clock. Sometimes it takes weeks, sometimes months, and occasionally it waits years to rear its ugly head. For the past few seasons, Marco Estrada has registered a BABIP well below league average, even accounting for his flyball tendencies. The highest BABIP he sported from 2013-2016 was .262. The party line was Estrada induces weak contact. Perhaps he lost that skill in 2017, or perhaps Lady Luck caught up. Regardless, a .295 BABIP with a walk rate that increased for the fifth straight season resulted in a 1.38 WHIP, his highest since 2010. Sprinkle in a 1.50 HR/9 and Estrada's 4.98 ERA was the highest since that same campaign. His repertoire, both in terms of velocity and pitch mix, didn't change much, he just wasn't as sharp. His strikeout rate dipped precipitously over the second half (to 18.1 percent). Now 34 years old, the righty is likely to rebound, but not to the level displayed his first two seasons in Toronto.
Estrada (10-9) took the loss against the Red Sox on Wednesday, coughing up eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits and a walk over only 2.1 innings while striking out two. After posting a 1.67 ERA through his first four September starts, Estrada crashed back to earth in his final outing of the year. The veteran righty will return to Toronto's rotation next year hoping to improve significantly on the disastrous 4.98 ERA he put together in 2017.
Estrada (10-8) allowed one run on three hits and three walks while striking out four across seven innings to earn the victory Friday against the Yankees. Estrada gave up a solo homer to Aaron Judge in the first inning before settling down while receiving plenty of run support as he cruised to his 10th victory the season. He's been outstanding during his four starts this month, as he's allowed just five earned runs to lower his ERA from 5.23 to 4.70, and fantasy managers who have used him lately in lineups have reaped the rewards. He'll make his next start Wednesday against the Red Sox.
Estrada and the Blue Jays agreed Tuesday on a one-year, $13 million contract extension, keeping him with the team through the end of the 2018 season, Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports. Rather than gauging his value on the open market as a free agent this winter, Estrada opted for the security of rejoining the Blue Jays for an additional year following an up-and-down 2017 campaign. The 34-year-old struggled mightily from early June through the end of August and may have been at risk of being bounced from the rotation, but he's gotten back on track in September with a 3.60 ERA and 1.00 WHIP over four starts. Estrada's solid finish might have been enough to convince the organization that he remains a viable mid- or back-end rotation arm even as he nears the end of his career, though he'll need to do a better job of reining in the long ball to enjoy consistent success in 2018.
Estrada (9-8) allowed two runs on three hits and a walk while striking out four batters over eight innings in Saturday's win over Minnesota. The veteran has found a groove of late and allowed just five runs over 20 innings over his past three starts. Estrada still sports a disappointing 4.84 ERA for the campaign, but with an 8.7 K/9 and his recent form in mind, he's definitely on the fantasy radar in the majority of settings for his final two starts. However, it's a daunting upcoming schedule. A date with the Yankees at the Rogers Centre is up next, and then Estrada projects to face the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Estrada (7-8) earned the win Monday against the Orioles, allowing two runs on four hits with seven strikeouts and no walks over five innings. Estrada was sharp in this one, throwing 67 percent of his pitches for strikes and going without a walk for the third time this season. He allowed a run on two hits in the fourth inning before surrendering a solo home run in the fifth. The win was Estrada's third in as many decisions and boosted his K:BB to a solid 26:6 over his last five starts. He will look to continue his recent success Saturday against the Twins.