Sabermetrics: Can MSV Expose Level of Marco Estrada’s 2017 Dropoff?

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 27: Marco Estrada
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 27: Marco Estrada /
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Sabermetircs analysis Magnum Start Value looks at the huge dropoff of veteran Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher.

Over the course of his career, Toronto Blue Jays starter Marco Estrada has been one of the most underrated pitchers in the game. Even for a hurler who never threw more than 200 innings in one season he is still extremely productive, which can be seen by his thirteen wins in 2015. How valuable is Estrada to a ball club? Let’s take a look at his numbers through the lens of Magnum Start Value to get a better idea of his worth.

Before we move forward with this study, there are some key aspects of Estrada’s career to take into consideration prior to analyzing his 2016 and ’17 seasons. Most importantly, is that the Jays starter has been used primarily as a reliever throughout his career. Outside of those two campaigns, Estrada made at least six appearances out of the bullpen when he took the mound 29 or more times.

Speaking of being a reliever, that role does not suit Estrada very well. In years that he mostly came out of the bullpen (2008-11, ‘14), Estrada never finished with an ERA below four (4.08 was the lowest). Meanwhile when Estrada is a starter by trade, it seems as though he performs much better. While his ERA scraped five (4.98) this season, his ERA was sub-four every other year (2013, 2015-17) he performed as a starter.

So, what does this mean? First of all, it is an indication that Estrada should be primarily used as a starter. However, could he be on the downside of his career at age 34? That is what I am hoping to discover with this study, is whether Estrada has peaked and will no longer perform at the level he once did.

There is going to be a term used to indicate quality starts, however it will not be included in the verbiage of Magnum Start Value (may be used in the future). I am going to name it Quality Start Total (QST), and the purpose of QST is for identifying the amount of quality starts over a period of time. While there is not an actual time limit QST can cover, my objective for using it is to show the sum total of quality starts regardless of whether they also qualify for a Magnum Start or not. Make sense?

Ready for the analysis? Let’s get started!