The trades Oakland has executed in the past year has been focused on restocking their farm system with quality arms. Some have hit, some have missed. Today we will get a look at Joey Estes, 21 years old. The young arm that came over from the Matt Oslen trade has come into the A's farm system with a bang.
Joey started his day in a little bit of trouble with runners on the corners with 2 outs. He got out of the jam with a fly ball to Tony Kemp but showed he had a little trouble locating his fast ball. His breaking ball accruacy was quite intriguing however. When he fell behind in the count, several times, he came back with a 84 mph cutter and a 79 mph slider. Shows the kid has guts.
He has a little pep in his step to be sure. Keeping his emotions in check is something the Oakland pitcher coach said Scott Emerson is something he looks forward to. Clearly his emotions might have still been high come the 2nd inning, throwing a meatball cutter to Dominic Canzone for a 448ft 2R homerun down the line to deep right field. Welcome to the Bigs, 2-0 Seattle. Calzone was 0 for his previous 14 before that moonshot.
It is also fair to point out that Jordon Diaz did not help with errors in back to back innings.
Very next inning he hits Julio Rodriguez on the hand and promptly just like that, runners on the corners after a base hit. 1 out. What it interesting to see about Estes is his "run" on his pitches. There is ALOT of movement from his fastball and his changeup seems to float to the plate. Trouble is it floats outside the strike zone as well, at times. Emotions or not, you got to hit the corners and edges.
His first BB was intentioal. Basesloaded, 2 out. Estes escapes but by the skin of his teeth, getting France to fly out to deep left. Still 2-0.
Come the top of the 4th Estes gets his 5th ground ball out with the other 9 flying out. There appears to be a pattern with Estes. He is not going to blow you away with strikeouts but his fastball, cutter, changeup all have pretty good movement to them. The four seamer have a bit of outside run to it with LH and straight line with RH, sometimes. Changeup is the same. His biggest advantage I can see is his ability is to throw offspeed/breaking below league average, same goes for his cutter. Both between 79-84, respectively. Interesting because most batters just watched it sail by for a strike.
He is also 50/50 when it comes to first pitch strikes with a 64-44 ratio with PB/strikes.
Zach Gelof hit his is 13th homerun to lead off the bottom of the 4th. 2-1 Seattle. This against a pitcher who has let 20 balls leave the yard over a 178 innings. Keep in mind, Kirby has only walked 20 batters all year as well. Yes, 20. This helps his WHIP rate which is 4th best in all MLB. A single from Seth Brown goes nowhere as Kirby sits down the next two, easily.
Now, before this goes any further, Joe Boyle was limited to 3 innings, of scoreless baseball right at about 60 pitches. Come the top of the 5th, Joey is still towing the rubber. We are still searching for consistency from a strategy perspective. Here in the top 5th, his changeup and fastball is still getting run on it. Julio must have remembered the HBP and took Estes deep over the right center field fence on a 2-2 count. Cal Raleigh wanted to take a splash too and cannonballed another 2-2 ball over the right field fence. 4-1 Seattle.
Now some people will tell you strikeouts do not matter anymore. Get me ground ball outs - be efficient. But I view a strikeout the same as a homerun. Each one is done with a stragety to set up to a pitch you can hit, or that cannot be hit. His first strike out came against Teoscar Hernández. He led off with a 94 mph four seamer on the upper inner third. Whiff. Then another four seemer; 93 mph inner third middle. Throw away chase slider down and away at 81. Again interesting that Estes is not throwing 94 mph sliders (like everyone else is trying to do). His pitches will get there, eventually, which is not something MLB hitters are used to. Shown proof because he went right back to it and got a ugly swing from Hernandez that was a mile out in front of it. Speed definitely plays.
His 2nd big league strike out came with a runner on 2nd. Pitch sequence: Cutter 84 inside, ball - changeup 86 just clipping the bottom of the zone - change up #2 87 mph, technically not a strike but gets a break from The Man behind the dish - Four seam fastball 94, inner third - swing and a miss from Jarred Kelenic. Again, good movement on the fastball. It dips, dodges and maybe dives to the point it is nearly a sinker but not quite.
On his 90th pitch he hits his 2nd batter and just like that his day was done. Leaving two runners on who will be later knocked in with stand up double by Calzone, quite the addition at the deadline from Arizona I must say. Adrian Martinez threw the pitch but Estes get the credit. 5 ER tied to his name on his first outting. He did, again, go 90 pitches which is nearly double they allowed Joe Boyle to go. Why? Who knows, frankly.
By top of the 6th the score was 6-1, with Seattle pulling away. But there is a bottom of the a 6th inning in baseball and Oakland has their fair shot. Brent Rooker (27) hit a 2 run bomb, with Seth Brown on first to straight away center field. 6-3.
With 2 outs in the top of the 7th, Martinez allows a opposite field single to Kelenic but other wise harmless frame. By the top of the ninth it was still 6-3
This story started with the haziness of the Oakland night due to wildfires in Oregon and the cloudiness with a chance of hail for the '24 rotation. So far we are looking at: Blackburn, Waldichuk, Sears, Medina, Miller, Boyle, Neal, Newcomb?, and now maybe, Estes. Estes, clearly needs more time in the minors but there is a there, there. Estes throws really off-speed breaking balls, for strikes. In a speed league like Major League Baseball that might play, if only he can locate his fastball. Oakland clearly has some tough decisions to make going forward come spring '24.
Seattle pitched around a 2 out walk to Tyler Soderstrom in the 9th. Final Score - 6-2, Seattle sweeps the series.
Next Game Tomorrow: 6:40 PM (PST) -- Tarik Skubal vs Mason Miller. Certainly watching back to back games with potential starters for next year should clear thing up.
News and Notes
Lawrence Butler has widened his stance and is starting to look smooth going the other way. Like a right handed person learning to dribble with their left, he at first look awkward and at times confused. But he got a solid oppo-shot against Kirby in the bottom 6th and a ball with pretty solid contact about 20 feet from the left field fence. News to Oakland A's ears. "Butler goes the other way" *and* does not strike out trying to pull.
Broken records might be annoying but they tell you what is broken. Esteury Ruiz was on the bench, again today. Ceding, again, the outfield to Kemp, Butler and Brown. Need I remind everyone that Ruiz has the Oakland rookie base stealing record and the highest batting average on the team. Not to mention 42 RBI's. (6 less than Seth Brown who has 13 homeruns and a BA 30 points lower than Ruiz.)
Danny Jimenez pitched a perfect top 9th, striking out the side. You could literally hear on the TV broadcast the ball whooshing through the air. Whether that was the rotation with speed or just speed. Danny Jimenez is back and is not, repeat, not taking prisoner.