by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
There’s always going to be concerns about Colorado starting pitchers, though the savvy fantasy owner has been able to overlook the stigma and find value (just look at Jon Gray, for instance). The hope was that German Marquez could follow that path, and while there was some streaming appeal at the end of the day the numbers weren’t all that impressive:
147 Strikeouts (8.17 K/9)
49 Walks (2.72 BB/9)
45.2% Groundball Rate
It would appear that there are some skills at play, though there are two underlying splits that should cause some significant concerns. One of them is going to be obvious, pitching half his games at Coors Field. The other isn’t so clear-cut, with the potential that he’s a better fit for the bullpen as opposed to the rotation. Let’s take a look:
He pitches half his games in Coors Field, so home runs are obviously going to be a concern. That was the issue last season:
- Home – 4.59 ERA, 1.68 HR/9
- Road – 4.19 ERA, 1.10 HR/9
It’s not like he completely avoided the long ball when pitching on the road. Over his minor league career he posted a 1.12 GO/AO, which is right on par with his 1.08 from last season. That means that the issue could continue to hang over him, and even if we think he can improve on his 20.3% HR/FB at home it’s going to continue to downgrade his upside.
It’s something that’s starting to be looked at more and more, but let’s look at Marquez’ ERA based on the number of times through the lineup:
- First time through the lineup – 2.86
- Second time through the lineup – 4.83
- Third time through the lineup – 6.16
Clearly the more opponents see him, the worse the production. The problem is that he primarily throws two pitches:
- Fastball (Fourseam/Sinker) – 65.54%
- Curveball – 25.05%
The remainder is made up of changeups and sliders, but it’s clearly not enough. As a two pitch pitcher he’s just not fooling people the later in the game he goes, and unless he can discover a third pitch that trend could easily continue. With this mix you have to wonder if he’d ultimately be a better fit coming out of the bullpen.
You have home run concerns and a pitcher who could struggle to go deep into games. Pitching in Colorado or not, that’s a risky investment and one we’d look to avoid. Throw in the Coors Field factor and he’s virtually untouchable. There are pitchers with similar or greater upside, so steer towards them and avoid Marquez.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, MILB.com
Make sure to check out all of our 2018 Projections: