As we continue looking for a potential trade match for the Astros at the deadline, I’ve been focusing largely on players that are one of either 1.) Pure Rentals 2.) Club Controlled and Cheap.
Marquez definitely fits into the second category but it’s tough to say if the Rockies would be willing to move him. Last year, Marquez signed a very affordable 5 year (2019-2023) $43 Million dollar contract with a club option for 2024. This contract covers his age 24-29 seasons, leaving little reason to believe he’ll fall off prior to the end of the contract.
Who is German Marquez
Marquez, 24, is a 6’1 right handed pitcher hailing from Venezula. As an international signee, he was relatively unknown in the prospect world but gained serious helium moving up to 73rd overall in baseball by MLB.com. Here was what Eric Longenhagen had to say about him in his rankings in November 2016:
“Marquez made his major-league debut at age 21 this year after ripping through Double-A. His fastball sits 92-95 and will touch as high as 97 or 98 at times. It features heavy arm-side run but can lack plane if Marquez drops his arm slot, which he does at times.
Marquez also has a plus curveball in the 76-81 mph range that has a slurvy shape to it but bites hard and has solid depth. A back-foot curveball is the best weapon Marquez has against left-handed pitching right now, as his changeup is still below average. But Marquez is just 21 and his delivery is loose and fluid so there’s likely more coming from the changeup. Marquez’s command elicits similarly bullish projection because of the delivery and athleticism and he’s already throwing plenty of strikes. He’s a relatively low-risk mid-rotation arm, an above-average major-league starter.”
Now in his 4th year, Marquez has had a “ROCKY” start to his career, coming in at a somewhat deceiving 34-24 with a 4.37 ERA (although the advanced . With that said, the fact that his home park is notoriously one of the most difficult places on the planet to pitch has had an obvious effect on his overall results. For his career, his home 5.64 ERA is light years higher than the away 3.64, which tells a different story than his overall ERA may indicate.
In 2019, those effects are even more magnified, with his home ERA coming in at a brutal 7.07 compared to a 3.33 ERA when pitching away.
Additionally, Marquez has had consistent success with a K/9 over 9 and a BB/9 under 2.5 for the entirety of his career.
From a durability standpoint, Marquez represents one of the healthier pitches having only 1-DL stint (7-day IL) back in 2014. He pitched 196 IP last year, after getting ramped up from a minor league workload. He’s averaging over 6 IP per start over since the start of 2018, providing a consistent durable workhorse for the Rockies.
Baseball Savant has Marquez listed as a 5-pitch pitcher (okay technically 6 with 1 pitch considered a cutter thrown).
As you start to analyze his arsenal, there’s an instant respect for someone averaging 95.5 mph on their fastball, which ranks 25th in all of baseball for pitchers who have thrown 750+ pitches (to sort towards starters). Unfortunately, from a spin rate perspective, his 2,229 would rank #398 out of 662 pitchers – which is even worse when you consider spin rate naturally increases as velocity does.
His curveball on the other hand is above average in spin rate, though still not considered to be in the elite category coming in at #98 of 438 pitchers to have thrown a curveball this year.
There’s one other factor here that comes in to play, which is Coors Field. Most people recognize that the air changes the flight of the baseball and leads to numerous home runs, but less people realize the impact on the movement of the pitches themselves. Fangraphs did an excellent article on it, and if you want to dig even further into the science here is a great article that gets into the physics of baseball’s thrown at Coors field.
“At Coors, the baseball loses only 8% of its speed, so that the average speed is about 96% of its peak speed, or about 1 mph faster. This effect is quite small and batters can easily adjust to it. Far more important is the reduction in the Magnus force, resulting is less break on the pitched ball. If we take 18 inches as a typical break at Fenway due to the Magnus force, an identically thrown pitch will break only about 82% as much–or about 14-15 inches–at Coors. For example, an overhand curveball will drop about 4 inches less at Coors. An overhand fastball will drop about 4 inches more at Coors. Why “more”? Because the upward Magnus force opposing gravity is less at Coors. A ball thrown with pure sidespin will have a sideways break about 4 inches less at Coors. Generally speaking, less break or movement favors the batter.”
Marquez’s arsenal is not ideal for the Strom magic, but it’s nothing to be scoffed at either.
What would it cost?
Fangraphs is in the middle of their annual trade value rankings, which ranks players based on their value vs contract. Marquez came in at #22, which I think will be much higher than many people on here will anticipate edging out deGrom. (And well ahead of other big names such as Scherzer).
If you use the projections above, Marquez has ~18 WAR remaining ($162 Mil) vs an anticipated cost of $51.75. $110 Million in remaining value is a staggering figure. Using the trade values from the updated pre-season rankings, you’d be looking at a package of something like Whitley AND Tucker to get to the value (obviously, you can get to the total value in different ways just looking to represent total value).
I like Marquez, but there’s a reason that club controlled top of the rotation pitchers rarely change hands. Marquez is signed to a bargain of a contract, which obviously would be a hugely beneficial aspect as the Astros start their collision course with the competitive tax threshold, which Crane has said we will not exceed.
Marquez is still young at 24, and there’s a potential for him to continue to improve. He’s been a durable workhorse starter, which if you’re going to throw your most valuable trade chips into the pile makes a huge difference.