The Marquez Group

When I released my SP rankings yesterday, I was fairly certain that the German Marquez slotting would continue to garner attention. There were questions when I had him 34th back in February and after more research and shuffling, he actually dropped a spot to 35 on the March list. Part of me definitely finds it weird that I have to keep justifying my Marquez ranking while those with him in the Top 25 just skate by unchallenged. How is anyone comfortable ranking someone that high when they must contend with Coors Field for half their games?

Furthermore, are we just completely ignoring Marquez’s career before last summer now? He undoubtedly made improvements, namely the excellent curve and surge in fastball performance. But I’m just not sure that 113 excellent innings is enough to say he’s a completely new pitcher, especially with Coors lingering overhead. Let me be clear about one thing: I think German Marquez is a good pitcher. I don’t want my ranking to be seen as some indictment of him. I just don’t think he’s ready to be an unmitigated fantasy ace.

A couple months ago, I compared Marquez to his teammate Jon Gray, but let’s try this one on for size:

Marquez Comparison
Pitcher GS IP ERA WHIP K% BB% HR9
Pitcher A 22 141.7 2.54 0.99 31% 6% 0.76
Marquez 17 113 2.47 0.95 33% 5% 0.80

Since posting that line, Pitcher A has a 4.17 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 27% K, and 8% BB rate in 621 innings. Do you know who Pitcher A is yet?

Obviously, with the 621 innings it should be clear that he’s a veteran.

I’ll give you a moment to log your guesses.

Are you ready?

 

OK, here we go…

 

3…

 

2…

 

1.

 

Chris Archer just hasn’t been the same since that big run in 2015. In fact, his ERA has gotten progressively worse at 4.02, 4.07, and 4.31 the last three seasons. He posted a 4.61 in the final two months of that 2015 campaign. His big run didn’t propel him into the game’s next ace and he didn’t even have to contend with Coors Field. Although, he did have the AL East holding him back and unlike Marquez, he didn’t develop that go-to third pitch. He was still pretty much just fastball-slider, whereas Marquez added that a devastating curveball to his fastball-slider combo.

The 24-year old right-hander is a dynamic arm capable of missing plenty of bats and he may well even be ready for a next step, but I think he’s well-suited for the group he’s in on my rankings. Look at Marquez since 2017 with seven others ranked right around him, including Archer:

The Marquez Group
Name IP ERA WHIP K% BB% SwStr% HR/9 FIP
Robbie Ray 285.7 3.34 1.24 32% 12% 14% 1.3 3.97
Patrick Corbin 389.7 3.58 1.23 26% 7% 13% 1.0 3.25
Luis Castillo 259 3.89 1.17 25% 8% 13% 1.4 4.12
Eduardo Rodriguez 267 4.01 1.27 26% 8% 11% 1.2 3.81
German Marquez 358 4.05 1.28 25% 7% 11% 1.2 3.86
Chris Archer 349.3 4.17 1.31 28% 7% 13% 1.2 3.55
Masahiro Tanaka 334.3 4.28 1.19 26% 6% 15% 1.6 4.19
Jon Gray 282.7 4.55 1.33 25% 7% 11% 1.2 3.73

I don’t hate Marquez for fantasy baseball. I held on as long as I could in an NL-Only last year:

And even took him in my “Beat Paul Sporer” NFBC 12-teamer:

But planning for him to put up a Top 25 (or in some cases Top 20!) season is just too much. The strikeouts will give him some wiggle room on the ratios, but unless he repeats or improves his 3.77 ERA/1.20 WHIP combo, he won’t crack the Top 30. A couple busted starts in Coors and he’ll be staring down a 4.20 ERA and 1.25 WHIP. At that point, he’s basically 2017 Jose Quintana (4.15 ERA/1.22 WHIP, 26% K) with a few more strikeouts.

There are a whopping eight qualifying seasons (162+ IP) with a 3.77 ERA or better. Four are owned by two pitchers (Ubaldo Jimenez and Jhoulys Chacin), two others happened last year with Marquez and teammate Kyle Freeland, and the other two are from Joe Kennedy (3.66 in 162.3 IP) and Jorge de la Rosa (3.49 in 167.7 IP). So, Marquez is a longshot to even match his 2018, let alone improve upon it. And yet, he’s a Top 80 pick and Top 25 starter in March NFBC drafts? Good luck with that.

We hoped you liked reading The Marquez Group by Paul Sporer!

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Paul is the Editor of Rotographs and contributes to ESPN's Daily Notes. Follow Paul on Twitter @sporer and on Twitch at sporer.

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Jim Melichar
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Jim Melichar

Throwing curveballs in the strike zone and getting 20% SwStk is a pretty sick pitch. I’m buying the hype. You don’t have to contend with the Coors air when you aren’t allowing it to be a factor.

I wonder if the curve in the zone against the slider moving through the zone is enough to combat Coors again?