Dominican prospect Estevez bounces back in second start

Nineteen-year-old Dominican right-hander Wirkin Estevez settled in quite nicely to his second start Thursday for the short-season Single-A Auburn Doubledays.

After getting knocked around in his first New York-Penn League start June 18, Estevez was very impressive Thursday against Mahoning Valley, throwing five innings of shutout ball, allowing just one hit and one walk, and striking out five.

The 6-foot-1, 170-lb. prospect has his velocity up between 87 to 93 mph on his fastball, and hit 88 to 92 mph in his first start.

Nationals Director of Player Development Doug Harris saw Estevez throw Thursday and came away impressed.

“He has an above-average changeup and a developing breaking ball,” Harris said. “He is a fearless kid. He throws strikes and has really nice instincts.”

Harris said Estevez comes to the Nationals after making quick progress in the Dominican and then in Florida.

“He led the Dominican (League) in strikeouts last year,” Harris said. “For a 19-year-old who has never pitched in the Gulf Coast League, it was a great night. I saw his first start and think it was a lot better than the numbers would indicate. I think he is going to be fine.”

Auburn’s season continues until Labor Day.

Harris said College World Series players will join the mix soon and the GCL Nationals and Doubledays will get to fill out their rosters.

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