Recently, I posted notes on Cleveland ace Corey Kluber to give readers some idea of what a pitcher of such obvious talent looks like on a scouting report. Well, I recently ran into Rockies righty German Marquez — a 55 FV on his final FanGraphs prospect list and a 2.5 WAR pitcher as a rookie (which is a 55) — so here’s a similar rundown.
Marquez’s body looks like it’s backed up a bit, but he was still generating premium velocity with ease, sitting 94-96 with his fastball throughout my viewing. It, along with his low-80s curveball, is comfortably plus, and he threw several 70-grade curveballs. Marquez is clearly working on developing two other pitches — an upper-80s slider and mid-80s changeup — that are both below average right now. The change has promising movement, Marquez just lacks feel for it.
Marquez barely threw anything other than his heater and curve last year and was able to succeed anyway because they’re both excellent. If a tertiary offering is his focus this year, it’s reasonable to expect some growing pains and regression, though this is probably best for his long-term development. His fastball velocity has fluctuated a bit this spring (as low as 92 in other outings), but that’s to be expected.
He’s not technically a prospect, but Rockies righty Jairo Diaz looks poised to make an impact in the bullpen this year. Diaz missed all of 2016 and most of 2017 due to Tommy John, but his stuff has been vicious this spring. In two looks at him, Diaz has been 96-99 with a plus slider in the 87-90 mph range.
Most 90 mph sliders are glorified cutters, but Diaz’s actually has the kind of vertical movement that misses bats. He has late-inning stuff and is locating his two-pitch combo better than he has in the past. Diaz is expected to begin the season in the Albuquerque bullpen, but he’s clearly one of the top seven relief arms in this org right now and should be up at some point as long as he’s throwing strikes. He has difference-making stuff.
Mariners RHP prospect Art Warren sat 95-98 with a plus slider at 86-88 and an average curveball at 80 mph. His slider has two-plane movement but most of the action is vertical and it bites really late. He located it in the zone and in the dirt, to his glove side, to hitters of both hands. He looks like a near-ready, late-inning arm.
I checked in on Angels camp and saw Kevin Maitan, who still looks heavy. He deserves time to right the ship, but he’s behind where I would have hoped him to be entering spring training. Scouts who have seen more of him than I have this spring have taken issue with his bat path and inconsistent defensive hands. It’s early, but things aren’t off to an auspicious start.
All is not doom and gloom in Tempe. Bahamian OF Trent Deveaux looks great. He’s already developed better bat control than he had last fall. He’s exhibited gap power and plus speed — first on a triple to left field and then on a flared hustle double later in the week. RHP Jose Soriano looks great physically and his stuff keeps improving. He’s clearly starting to fill out (he looks like a D1 wide receiver) and threw harder in his first two spring outings than he did much of last year, sitting 94-96 with a harder, mid-80s slider which is plus. Both outings were only one inning. If he shows an ability to hold 94-96 and a plus breaking ball for five-plus innings over a few weeks, he’s a top-100 overall prospect.
Eric Longenhagen is from Catasauqua, PA and currently lives in Tempe, AZ. He spent four years working for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, two with Baseball Info Solutions and two contributing to prospect coverage at ESPN.com. Previous work can also be found at Sports On Earth, CrashburnAlley and Prospect Insider.