by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
It’s obviously been an impressive run for the Rockies’ German Marquez, who appears to have conquered Coors Field and emerged as a potentially elite starting pitcher. Just look at the strikeout totals over his past few starts:
- 08/25/18 – 9
- 08/30/18 – 13
- 09/04/18 – 11
- 09/10/18 – 11
In 68.1 IP since the All-Star Break he’s pitched to a 2.63 ERA and 1.00 WHIP, backed up by an 11.72 K/9, 2.11 BB/9 and 49.7% groundball rate. It all screams elite, but just how real is it? Let’s break it down and take a look:
Marquez owns an overall 11.8% SwStr%, though that number has ballooned to 14.9% in the second half. He’s been throwing his slider more than ever before (17.80%), but since the All-Star Break that’s up even more (23.09%). It makes sense that it’s led to more strikeouts, as he’s generating a 21.18% Whiff% on the pitch over the entire season. When opponents have made contact against it they’ve had little success hitting .134 with a .223 SLG. Couple that with his curveball (.167 BAA) and it makes sense that Marquez has finally flipped the script and started to throw fewer fastballs.
At the end of the day he may not be able to maintain this type of gaudy strikeout rate, but the stuff appears to be there for well more than a strikeout per inning moving forward.
Over his minor league career he owns a 2.5 BB/9 showing that this is a skill that he does possess. Is he a borderline elite option? Probably not, but with more strikeouts and solid control he has the potential to continue posting an above average mark. Even if he posts around his minor league mark, it will be more than enough to thrive.
Is there anything to question about a .304 BABIP and 74.5% strand rate in the second half? You can argue that there should be a little bit of a regression, given a 37.9% Hard%, but is that enough of a reason to avoid?
Pitching in Coors Field is always going to carry some risk, and his 0.53 HR/9 in the second half screams for a step backward. Even so, there’s nothing unbelievable in his luck and he has the stuff to maintain an elevated strikeout rate as well as strong control marks. Put those things together and as long as he maintains a HR/9 in the 1.00-1.10 range there is more than enough reason to buy in. He has Top 25 starting potential and it’s time we start viewing him as such.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball, Baseball Reference