Monday, August 16, 2021
One of my biggest risers on my Midseason Braves Top 30, going from 23rd to no. 15 in just the span of a few months this year, former 16th round pick Joey Estes earned a well-deserved accolade today as he won Pitcher of Week, according to MiLB.com.
Estes, still only 19-years-old and pitching with the Single-A Augusta GreenJackets, won the weekly award for his performance this past Saturday, when he tossed a complete-game that featured just two runs from four hits and a whopping 14 strikeouts. Of the final 21 batters he faced, only two Kannapolis batters managed to reach base, including a stretch in which the righty recorded six-straight punch outs in the seventh and eighth innings combined.
As you can see from the clip below, Estes’ high-octane fastball was just too much for opposing batters… and has been all season long down at the lowest full-season level.
For 2021, it’s clear that Estes is ready for more of a challenge, even if the Braves are in no rush to promote him. The righty is enjoying some of his best pitching of the campaign over these last 4-6 weeks, and right now he leads Single-A’s East League in multiple categories, including strikeouts (116), innings-pitched (87), ERA (2.69), WHIP (0.97), AVG (.187) and now complete-games (1).
As it stands now, even though the list is likely to change a bit by season’s end, I have Estes as the eighth-ranked pitching prospect in the Braves system, just behind Augusta teammate and Braves 2021 top pick, righty Ryan Cusick. There’s certainly much more to development in the future for Estes, for he is indeed a raw pitcher, however, if it keeps this up he’ll likely work his way into the top-10 in no time.