Rays Top 50 Prospects includes a tremendous number of high-quality prospects. We at RCG are bringing you an in-depth look at those we consider to be the Top 50.
While gathering as much information as possible from various sources, we’re going to put it all together for your enjoyment and raise the bar on what you expect from a prospect knowledgable site. Stay tuned, check-in often, and please let us know how we’re doing. Being such a lengthy process, some encouragement will go a very long way. We hope you’ll enjoy reading this series as much as we enjoy putting it together. If anything, all of us will know that much more about the quality of the Rays system.
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We’ll go through this exercise in an odd way, to make things more interesting. The first one to be looked at will be #40, then #30, then #20, and #10. Then we’ll go through 41, 31, 21, and 11. We’ll go through each ranking until we are all done 11-50, all aside from the Top 10. Then we’ll have a regular countdown for the top 10.
The rankings will be based on all aspects of each prospect, but will focus first on how likely the player is to make an impact in MLB, and ceiling next. Mikie Mahtook and Enny Romero have been graduated to the majors and will not be included in these rankings.
Once completed, the Top 50 will be updated mid-season with an explanation to why they’re moving up or down, and the entire process will be repeated each season.
The next player to be examined in detail is …
#8: German Andres Marquez, RHP, 20 years old
- Throws: Right Ht/Wt: 6’1″ 185 lbs
- Signed: for $200,000 as an international free agent in 2011 out of Venezuela
- 2015 Affiliate: Charlotte , HiA
- Anticipated MLB Arrival: 2017
Marquez’ 2015 Splits
Video of Marquez’ Dominance
- Was signed at the same time as Jorman Duarte for a similar amount. To compare the progression difference of each, Duarte never made it out of the VSL
- Has seen his BB/9 rate lower over the last 4 seasons as follows: 5.24, 3.38, 2.66, and finally 1.88 in 2015
- Similarly, his FIP has trended down from 5.15 in 2012 to 3.14 in 2015
- Has managed a 67% LOB% over the last 2 seasons
- His K/BB rate of 3.59 in 2015 was the best of his career
- Led the Charlotte Stone Crabs in GP, IP, TBF, SO
- Finished 6th in the FSL in SO
- Only walked 2 batters in 27.2 IP in August, and only 9 over his last 60 IP
John Sickel’s of Minor League Ball had this to say after ranking Marquez the 18th best Rays prospect pre-2015:
"“Age 20, surprised he doesn’t get more attention, Venezuelan posted 3.21 ERA with 95/29 K/BB in 98 innings in Midwest League, 83 hits. Fastball in low-90s, MWL observers liked his breaking ball and change-up, possible three pitch starter with good control.”"
Nathaniel Stoltz of Frangraphs wrote a must read article about Marquez in 2013 as they ponder this: German Marquez: The Next Rays Gem?
"“Many Appy League pitchers tend to throw bloop curves that often dip into the upper 60s, but Marquez is not a member of that camp, utilizing a tight breaker that usually arrives at 77-79 with good shape. Moreover, he shows the ability to spot the pitch in the strike zone”"
Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs got to see Marquez pitch in 2014 and was able to confirm that Marquez has done some good work on getting his change up to become at least an average pitch:
"“Marquez was off to a slow start in Low-A last year and it turns out it’s because the Venezuelan teenager had never pitched in cold weather before. He caught his stride later in the season and jumped onto the prospect radar, with a ticket to High-A next year at age 20 as a potential rotation arm. When I saw the 6’1/185 righty in instructs this fall, Marquez sat 92-95 mph with a 55 curveball and a changeup that flashed average with command that was good for a teenager.”"
Best Tools & Abilities
- Smooth and effortless delivery
- Fastball that reaches 96 MPH, works at 92-94 MPH
- Sharp Curveball with 3/4 break (74-78 MPH)
- Grades: Fastball 55/60, Curveball 50/55, Change Up 40/50, Command 40/45+
Latest change in his delivery was made in 2015,
"“He’s been working to smooth out his mechanics lately, particularly his windup. Instead of a straight leg-kick, Marquez now incorporates a hip turn, which he says helps him keep his balance and stay on-line to the plate.“"
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This ranking is one that’s very aggressive when it comes to Marquez and it resulted in a few surprises within the top 10.
Unlike others who continue to “not believe” how continuously above expectations his performances have been over time, I’ve decide to believe that it will continue to exceed expectations.
The reason I feel he deserves the accolades comes in the maturity and makeup he shows us while working on the mound, as well as the work he’s put in to improve his change up.
Unlike in the past when some pegged him to become a reliever due to his reliance on an outstanding fastball with life and his strike-out curveball, he can now add in a much improved change up that keeps hitters off balance.
It allows Marquez to work at 3 different speed sets: low to mid 90s fastball, a mid-to-high 70s curveball, and a mid-to-low 80s change up. That’s particularly important as he heads towards AA, where batters tend to be more patient and don’t bite as easily on pitches out of the zone. There, again, is why I believe in the potential Marquez has. He attacks the strike zone and isn’t afraid to throw strikes in any count.
Most of all, however, is the maturing he’s done in how to best use all of his pitches. As his Manager, Michael Johns, noted:
"“What I think was different was his command,” the manager said. “His velocity’s always there, and he’s always got a good changeup and he’s always got a good curveball, but I think sometimes the sequence of pitches isn’t always great, and I thought tonight it was. He filled up the bottom of the zone, and any time you can do that usually equals success.”"
Marquez finished the season strong, another strong point in his favour. Over 4 of his last 5 starts, while he pitched more innings than ever before, he managed the following:
- 15th August: 6.2 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 2 Ks
- 21st August: 7 IP / 6 H / 1 ER / 0 BB / 9 Ks
- 28th August: 8 IP / 5 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 6 Ks
- 9th September: 6 IP / 8 H / 2 ER / 1 BB / 2 Ks
While others on the team were wearing down, Marquez was just getting going. In fact, you can see from his splits above that if we take out the month of June, we have a better picture of how dominant Marquez was for the rest of the season.
You won’t find higher expectations of Marquez at this point than what I have. While he gets set to enter AA and continue to be 3 to 4 years younger than his competition, there’s a good chance that his floor is that of a #5 starter workhorse at this point, with a much more enticing ceiling of a #3 starter.
There may even be reason to believe that he could exceed those totals if he continues to provide the Rays with his workhorse mentality and can add another pitch, perhaps a sinker or cutter, to his repertoire. As he progresses in AA, it’s quite possible that they look to enhance his pitch variety as they now view him primarily as a starter since he’s improved his change-up enough to do so.
Marquez doesn’t get nearly enough attention for what he’s done and how well he’s done despite being one of the youngest in every league he’s pitched in. There’s been a constantly improving progression to most of his stats, most notably the reduction in walks, and his poise and ability to work deep into games should be noted as traits teams look for in their workhorse starters.
If there’s one guy we’ll be hyping up more than most in 2016, it’s German Marquez. He’ll likely join Ryne Stanek, Chih-Wei Hu, and possibly Brent Honeywell in AA, giving the Rays some of the best depth you could ask for at the level. We wish him all of the best as he faces his biggest challenge yet in facing some MLB caliber talent.