German Marquez has been rock solid on the mound each of the past few seasons for the Colorado Rockies, but he is primed for a breakout season in 2019 with a revamped pitch arsenal.
When Marquez was acquired by the Rockies in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays ahead of the 2016 season, he was a two-trick pony with two primary pitches: a fastball and curveball.
Over time, Marquez has added a slider and changeup to his pitch mix in an attempt to further improve his game and output.
“You can’t go out there with two pitches and be successful,” Marquez said. “It’s going to help in the long run.”
The new pitches were on display in the Rockies’ 12-2 victory over the San Diego Padres Friday night. Marquez allowed 10 hits through 5.2 innings pitched, but only surrendered two earned runs, preventing the Padres from crawling back into the game.
Despite the heavy amount of traffic on the base paths, Marquez kept Padres’ hitters off balance when it mattered most, in part due to the variety of pitches he was able to select from.
“He came into 2017 with basically a fastball and curveball,” Manager Bud Black said. “We introduced the slider to him and it took maybe a half a season for him to feel comfortable with it and last year it was devastating. He’s evolving into a four-pitch mix pitcher which is awesome.”
Adding the two offspeed pitches to the mix makes Marquez more unpredictable and deceptive than before.
“The two pitches that I have, the fastball and curveball, from a hitting standpoint they know that’s all you have,” Marquez said. “So when you add the changeup and the slider to the mix you become an extra powerful pitcher and much more effective pitcher. You keep hitters on their toes, especially when they (pitches) are all on.”
The slider was the first pitch Marquez decided to add. The idea came about ahead of the 2017 season after speaking with Black about how diversifying his arsenal could elevate his game.
Marquez was solid for Colorado in 2017, pitching to an 11-7 record and 4.39 earned run average at just 22 years old. There were ups and downs in 2017, but Marquez returned in 2018 another year wiser and more confident in his secondary pitches. Marquez impressed in 2018, posting a 14-11 record with a 3.77 ERA.
Marquez displayed increased confidence on the mound and was more in command of his pitches in ’18. Overall he was more versatile due to the increased usage of his slider which kept hitters on their toes.
So far in 2019, Marquez has developed into the frontman of the Rockies rotation and has instilled confidence within the club every fifth day when he takes the ball.
“The slider was pretty instrumental in his success in the second part of 2017 and last year,” Black said. “His pitch development has led him to this self-confidence.”
Marquez made a bold claim prior to the start of this season, saying that he has aspirations to win the Cy Young and lead the Rockies to the World Series.
While the Rockies still have some work to do before reaching the World Series, Marquez could enter the conversation for the National League Cy Young Award should he continue to perform well this season.
The 24-year-old is 4-2 with a 3.43 ERA this season and ranks fourth in the National League with 59 strikeouts.