Game Report: Brett Marshall, P, New York Yankees
After a successful 2010 season, New York Yankees pitching prospect Brett Marshall continues to be somewhat of a forgotten man. After returning from Tommy John Surgery, Marshall posted a 2.57 ERA over 84 innings pitched with impressive peripherals. As good as those numbers are, his August in the “Sally” was downright ridiculous as he surrendered only two earned runs over his final thirty-six innings of work at the level and did not walk a single batter in five of his final six starts overall. Having been left off the Baseball America New York Yankees top-10 list, I asked Jim Callis what he thought of the young pitcher;
For an organization capable of getting the “hype machine” rolling at a moments notice with its rabid fan base and a blogosphere all too happy to reap the benefits of a bazillion site hits per Yankees prospect post, how has Brett Marshall missed the boat? After speaking to scouts about the young pitcher, rest assured his ascent may have gone relatively unnoticed in the prospect community, but not in the scouting community as he has generated considerable buzz.
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Physique & Athleticism: From a physical standpoint, Marshall is far from an intimidating presence. His build is the epitome of average as his 6’0″, 185-ish pound frame is well-proportioned and lean, but not particularly muscular. Without much room to fill out, Marshall’s compact frame should allow his athleticism to play up making it easier for him to repeat his mechanics. His sheer lack of size may limit his top end projection some, but his arsenal leaves him with a high enough floor to offset any concerns and then some.
Another issue is obviously his health after Tommy John surgery. While Marshall still has some effort in his delivery, his mechanics from video I took in August compared to that from his high school days indicates he has worked extremely hard to clean them up to alleviate added stress from his elbow. An intelligent young pitcher, I’m confident he will continue to refine his mechanics and take whatever steps possible to keep himself off of the training table.
Mound Presence: “Workmanlike” is the best way to describe Marshall on the mound as he’s both quiet and efficient. In general, I prefer pitching prospects who stay on a relatively even keel when projecting a pitcher to remain a starter. Marshall is definitely not an “adrenaline guy” who will need to be used in short spurts. Of course it helps that Marshall was nearly unhittable when I saw him throw. Seven scoreless innings with only a single hit allowed will certainly result in a quiet confidence.
Fastball: In game action, Marshall’s 4-seamer topped out at 93 MPH, but sat in the 90-91 range. In all honesty, his secondary pitches were strong enough to leave the top end velocity in his back pocket and I’m assuming that’s exactly what he did. In general, he worked the pitch up to change batter eye levels as more of a “show me” offering. From other scouts I’ve spoken to, Marshall can work his fastball up to 95 MPH on occasion.
2-Seam Fastball/Sinker: At 89-91, his ability to cut and sink the ball to either site of the plate was a devastating combination. Lunge out over the plate, and have your bat broken by a 2-seamer with arm side run. Cheat a bit and pull off the ball to compensate for the late break, and Marshall is able to cut the pitch with similar velocity to the outside corner. Marshall’s complete arsenal was far above other prospects the Sand Gnats were used to and it showed. Add in a changeup with less velocity and a biting slider and it was simply unfair.
Slider: Consistently 84 MPH on my radar gun, the pitch flashed tight, sharp break to his glove side with drop to call it two-plane at times. However, it was inconsistent and lost sharpness to the point of becoming “slurvy”. It’s enough to keep batters guessing at this point, but not enough to create the swings-and-misses of an “out pitch” quality offering on a consistent basis.
Changeup: At 79-81 MPH, the pitch had good velocity separation from his fastball(s) and similar drop and run to his 2-seamer. Marshall was successfully to backdoor the pitch, as well as run it in on the hands to create off balanced swings-and-misses. Behind his sinker/cutter combination, it was the sharpest pitch in his arsenal. However, I was able to pick up a very slight let up on the pitch as I was editing video on him. It’s something which will need a bit of attention going forward.
Cutter: With identical velocity to his sinker, Marshall worked off of both pitches beautifully. Of pitchers I’ve seen over the past couple of years, only Marshall and Chris Balcom-Miller were successfully able to cut and fade pitches at the same velocity. However, Marshall took it to a different level as he worked with the precision of a more experienced pitcher.
When speaking to a scout, I threw the idea that Brett Marshall was the second best pitcher I’d seen this season behind Julio Teheran and he didn’t flinch. Mind you that list would include former first rounders Tyler Matzek and Zack Wheeler, along with Braves prospect Arodys Vizcaino. Do not be surprised if Marshall is involved as the fourth player in an eventual deal for a pitcher like Zack Greinke. Marshall has the type of high floor arsenal scouts adore and the baseball IQ to continue to add significant polish. At present, he’s an underrated asset with the ability to round into a quality middle-of-the-rotation starter.