Scouting Yankee Prospect #17: Jeff Marquez
By Frankie Piliere
Date: Jan 28, 2005
The Yankees selected Jeff Marquez in the 1st round of the 2004 draft. Marquez has earned tremendous confidence from the organization with a mature approach along with a lethal combination of a sinker and an outstanding power changeup. It's these reasons that he's our Yankee's prospect #17. (Free Preview of Premium Content)
Name: Jeff Marquez
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: August 10, 1984
Height: 6' 2"
Although the selection of Jeff Marquez seemed to come out of nowhere in 2004, the Yankees have shown that they go to no limits in their player scouting. Marquez was a late bloomer at Sacramento City College and credits his development to the coaching staff there. In fact, Marquez entered the school as a 145 pound freshman who got zero attention from scouts out of high school. ďGoing to a good college program really helped me a lot,Ē said Marquez. ďThey really helped me with my mechanics and getting stronger and helped me a lot as an all around pitcher.Ē He made a wise choice, electing to redshirt his first year there in order to get stronger and build up for the 2004 season. It ended up being one of the best career moves a player could make. Marquez went on to have a dominating 2004 campaign and suddenly the Yankees were hot on his trail after he had pushed himself onto the draft day radar screen.
The Yankees did take Marquez, 41st overall in the draft in fact. And, it didn't take long for him to prove his worth. He was sent to the GCL where, as a 19 year old, he was simply dominating. After a few appearances, he had to be sent to Staten Island. Yet again, he put on an outstanding show. However, he admittedly wore down near season's end. "I think I might have been a little tired physically and mentally," Marquez told PinstripesPlus.com. "But, my arm wasn't really tired. But, not to make excuses, but in my last two starts, I really hated the mounds I pitched on. It was in Williamsport and Jamestown. One of my starts it was raining and I kind of lost it. I got a little frustrated with everything going on around me. I don't usually get frustrated but I think I was wearing down a little bit. Once I got to mini-camp I kind of got a new start." Not only did he get his fresh start in mini-camp but a huge vote of confidence from the organization as well.
When Jeff Marquez arrived in Tampa after the season ended, he was a bit deflated by his slow end to the season. But, that changed quickly once he spoke with pitching coordinator, Nardi Contreras. "Marquez just has the look of a real fast mover in this system and just a very good pitcher," Contreras told PinstripesPlus.com. "He is the type of guy that would fit right in there with that changeup he has. He has three established pitches and he is a really determined kid. He pushes hard to move to the next level and I think he'll be pitching in their rotation come 2005. He just showed us a lot when he came to mini-camp this year. He held up nicely health wise for a first year player and showed that he made the necessary adjustments when he needed to. If he shows more of that in Spring Training next year, I think he'll be in Tampa to start the season." A statement such as this shows a tremendous amount of confidence from the organization and Marquez sure appreciates the praise. "We had a long talk about that," the sinker baller said. "Here's basically what he told me. He was like if you keep doing what you're doing now, you are going to move faster through this system than you can possibly imagine. He said he was really impressed by me. It made me feel good to know they thought so highly of me." Look for Jeff to a big part of the Tampa Yankee staff in 2005 as a 20 year old.
Repertoire. Two-seam fastball, Four-seam fastball, Changeup, Curveball
Fastball. As even Jeff Marquez says, he is not a power pitcher. That is simply not what he is all about. However, he can still bring it with some good heat. Marquez's fastball is usually in the low 90's and topping out around 94 MPH. He does have what some would call a power fastball, but his fastball is used more so to get groundballs. He chooses to rely on the location and command of his two seam sinking fastball. He will get a lot of ground balls using that pitch. He sets up his two seam fastball with a riding four seam fastball. The four seam fastball, which he was able to develop in mini-camp, is going to be an enormous weapon for him. Now, he will be able to change a hitter's eye level, going up in the zone with the four seam and down with his nasty sinker. Expect Jeff to add even a little more heat in the coming years when he adds more bulk to his frame. Then, he will be one of the rare yet devastating power sinker ball pitchers.
Other Pitches. Besides the sinker, the pitch he bases his game around, Jeff Marquez also possesses another truly dominating pitch. That pitch is his changeup. A true power changeup, it is used as his best strikeout pitch and he can make hitters look foolish at the plate. To put it in perspective, this changeup is where his comparisons to Pedro Martinez stem from. They are different style pitchers but by the time Marquez makes it to the show, his changeup could be one of the or the best in the game. Not to mention, he really has found a feel for it and knows just the right situations to spring it on the hitter. It is definitely his best weapon in his arsenal. Jeff also possesses a curveball, but he calls that his worst pitch even though it is not all that bad. It is a solid curveball but he uses it more as a show me pitch.
Pitching. There is no better way to describe Jeff Marquez than a classic sinker ball pitcher. However, he is a very special kind of sinker ball pitcher. He is a guy who throws the ball with above average velocity and plus movement on his sinker. Right now he is not your typical strikeout pitcher but just by picking up some extra velocity with maturity, he could develop into one. But, his game is groundball outs, broken bats and weak hacks. He can make those weak hacks happen with his devastating changeup. Marquez has excellent command of his fastball and changeup but he is simply just learning to bring a little bit more of a breaking ball to the table with him. He takes an aggressive approach on the mound and he has the attitude that he can't be beat by anyone.
Projection. If you take the Yankee organization's word for it, the sky is the limit for Jeff Marquez. Although he may not be the ideal number one starter on a staff, Marquez still has the potential to be a tremendous number two type of starter. But, if he can get a little stronger, he may be able to become that ace material type of starter. He has two dominating pitches to work around with his sinker and his changeup. The Yankees are looking for him to fly through the system perhaps faster than any other pitcher despite his young age. He seems like the ideal type of Yankee pitcher, someone that can get up there quick and help just as fast.
ETA. 2007. We have now heard how fast the Yankees expect Marquez to get through the Yankee Farm System and this ETA reflects that notion. In 2005, the Yankees will likely have Marquez spend the full season at high A Tampa as Nardi Contreras told us he would. Then, in 2006, he should begin the season in AA Trenton. And, since the Yankees plan to move him aggressively, he has a good chance of being sent to AAA Columbus later in the season. After that, he has an excellent chance of breaking into the big leagues sometime during the 2007 season.