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March 24, 2005

by Fabian

Jeff Marquez, 20, RHP

Marquez was part of the Yankees ’04 draft, and despite being relatively unheralded made quick work of the GCL and held his own in the NYPL against older competition. Marquez had little to no hype coming out of high school, but was able to quickly develop as part of a JUCO program and is now considered one of the better prospects in a decent Yankee system.

Marquez’s GCL performance was everything you could ask for in a pitching prospect’s statistical record. Limit HRs? 0 in 14.1 innings says that was accomplished. Limit BBs? 4 in 14.1 innings says that was accomplished. Miss bats? 18 in 14.1 innings says that was accomplished. Limit hits? 10 in 14.1 innings says that was accomplished. With the GCL clearly being no challenge for Marquez, he was quickly promoted to Staten Island where he found things a bit tougher.

That increased difficulty was evident in the decline of his K rate from 11.3 per 9 GCL innings to 6.4 per 9 NYPL innings. His walks and hits per 9 also rose, from 2.5 to 3.6 and 6.3 to 9.1 respectively. Despite all this performance degradation I was very encouraged by Marquez’s performance. He has had a relatively unheralded amateur career and come very far in a short period of time. Marquez’s pitcher type also somewhat explains the high hit rate. As an extreme groundball pitcher Marquez relies a lot on his defense and his infield wasn’t the surest this past summer. In addition, despite allowing a relatively high amount of hits, Marquez limited extra base hits, resulting in an IsoP allowed of about .080, much better than the league average of .113.

Marquez’s main weapons in his pitching arsenal are a low 90s sinking fastball, which he uses to generate a ton of groundouts. In addition, he throws a power changeup to help keep left-handed batters off balance. At this point, his repertoire is much more adept at handling right-handed hitters, as they stood little to no chance against him in ’04 (AVG around .250, SLG around .300). A wiry frame and good arm action should allow hopes for Marquez adding some more power to remain viable.

At this point, Marquez looks set to begin the ’05 season somewhere near the top of the Tampa Yankees rotation. I would expect him to perform similarly to how Steven White did at the level, perhaps with more strikeouts and less home runs. Based on his repertoire and performance in the organization thus far, a late promotion to AA does not seem completely out of the question. Especially if he can develop his off speed repertoire and make lefties as useless against him as right-handed hitters have been.

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