14. Joey Estes
Personal Rank: 9
The Atlanta Braves selected Joey Estes out of Paraclete High School in California in the 16th round of the 2019 MLB draft. They saw a lot of upside in the high school arm.
His 10 innings of rookie ball back in 2019 were spotty, with a 8.10 ERA, 4.01 FIP, and 5.18 xFIP. Estes was only 17 and fresh out of high school, so these numbers do not hold much weight.
Coming back in 2021, Estes was assigned to Low-A Augusta and ended up being one of the few bright spots along with Vaughn Grissom. In his first full season, Estes started 20 games, pitched 99 innings with a 2.91 ERA, 3.30 FIP, 3.78 xFIP, 0.960 WHIP, 32.1% strikeout rate, and a 7.3% walk rate.
That season-long effort earned him a lot of attention from scouts who really love the profile. Augusta had a bad season overall, but Estes always provided a reason to attend games with his performances on the mound.
He throws a fastball, slider, and changeup all of which project as above-average pitches. The changeup especially impressed according to reports. It got stronger as the season went on, giving hope that Estes could feature three plus pitches in his game.
One key is Estes was confident in all his pitches and could throw all for strikes when he needed. The impressive control really has scouts hopeful that his game will continue to get stronger as he rises to the minor league ranks.
Entering just his third year of professional ball, and only twenty years of age, Estes will probably spend most of his year at High-A Rome. If he continues to show a strong feel for all three pitches, he might surpass other arms on the rankings by midseason.
I am the high man on Estes, personally ranking him 10th. I believe he will be a name we all are talking about by the end of 2022.