(Photo by Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire)
Last year was the first year we really got to see German Marquez get a full year of pitching for the Colorado Rockies, and it didn’t exactly go great. He finished the year with a 4.39 ERA, 8.17 K/9, and a 1.38 WHIP. And no, he didn’t fair much better away from Coors Field either, with a 4.19 ERA on the road.
So why am I even bothering talking about German Marquez? Well that’s a good question. It’s because I think he flashes a slight bit of potential. Maybe not right now, but it’s possible, and the new pitch he’s added this year is a good first step. He’s shown bits of brilliance before, with this deadly 12-6 curveball that he throws:
It’s far and away his best pitch, in fact, it was the only pitch in his arsenal that registered a positive pVAL at 3.3. It comes in slow, about 80-81 MPH on average, and it has a nice bit of vertical drop on it. Last year, the pitch generated a 16.7% whiff rate and opposing hitters had just a .214 wOBA against it. Like I said, it’s a nice pitch, but it’s just about his only nice putaway pitch, with the potential exception of the new pitch he showed us in his start against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Marquez’s first start of the year was pretty decent. He pitched five innings of shutout ball, struck out four and also walked four. Not amazing by any stretch (those walks are an issue) but certainly solid. During that start, Marquez showed us his new slider. He didn’t throw it often, and it was a little all over the place, but it shows some potential to be a decent pitch. Here it is being thrown against A.J. Pollock:
It’s got some nice, late action on it and it was coming in around 88 MPH on average. This isn’t the first time Marquez has thrown a slider, he threw one last year, though it was his least-thrown pitch. Here it is being thrown to Paul Goldschmidt:
It’s not much of a slider, and what’s worse is, he couldn’t control it well. The slider focused a lot more on vertical movement, with virtually no horizontal movement to speak of, and opposing hitters absolutely abused it, with a .546 wOBA and a ridiculous .667 ISO against it. It didn’t fool anyone either, generating a measly 15.8% chase rate and an 8.6% whiff rate. In short, it was his worst pitch.
But this new slider is different, and it looks like it has the potential to be a solid pitch for him, with a significant focus more on horizontal movement than vertical. There’s one key to it though: control. Like I said before, Marquez’s slider was all over the place in his first start of the year, but if he’s able to rein it in, it could be a useful pitch to go with his already-deadly curveball and a decent fastball that comes in around 95-96 MPH on average.
I’m not going to tell you that you need to go pick up German Marquez in your fantasy league right now. In fact, I wouldn’t even necessarily recommend streaming him in his away games except for against the weakest of lineups. What I do recommend doing it keeping an eye on him. He’s still just 23-years-old, it’s entirely within the realm of possibility that he can make some adjustments. The Rockies are obviously going to give him the opportunity to pitch, and if he’s able to control his new slider and locate it well, he all of a sudden becomes a pretty interesting pitcher.