The Chicago Cubs must change the narrative about their lack of homegrown pitching and Brailyn Marquez could be the one to do it.
For the past several years, Chicago Cubs fans have been treated to some of the best baseball they’ve ever witnessed in their lives. Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, Willson Contreras, Kyle Schwarber, Albert Almora and Ian Happ, have all contributed to the team’s success. While some of the names have given more to the team than others, they all have something in common besides the obvious.
They are all homegrown position players.
Fans and analysts around the league are not hesitant to point out that the Cubs have failed to produce homegrown pitching talent. Despite graduating to the majors from the Cubs farm system, Kyle Hendricks was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers, spending a year in their farm system.
But can southpaw Brailyn Marquez change that notion? Marquez is just 21 years old and is ranked second in the Cubs farm system, and 68th in the MLB.
The Cubs, who generally pitch to contact would greatly benefit from having a starter that can strikeout batters at will. Of the last five World Series champions, only the 2015 Kansas City Royals (1,160) struck out fewer batters than the 2016 Cubs, (1,441). The 2019 Cubs ranked 13th in strikeouts.
Marquez would fill that role. In all levels of professional baseball, Marquez has thrown 257.0 innings. In those innings, Marquez has 287 K’s, 101 walks while giving up 14 homers.
Marquez dominated towards the end of 2019, giving up two or less earned runs in nine out of ten games, before being promoted to Myrtle Beach. In five starts for the Pelicans, he went 26 1/3 innings with an ERA of 1.71 and 1.06 WHIP.
Despite his small pitching arsenal, (Fastball, Changeup, Slider) Marquez’s velocity is phenomenal, according to Baseball Prospectus, his velocity for his fastball is about 96-99, a changeup at 85-86 and slider 87-91 MPH. That is phenomenal stuff for a 21-year-old yet to hit Double-A.
His windup allows for a clean landing and easy delivery. After early struggles to utilize his physical tools, the pieces began to click in 2019. Thus, he surged in the MLB Pipeline.
While many think that the Cubs might use him as a bullpen arm, Brailyn Marquez has time to continue his surge towards the majors, and if all goes well, I think we’ll see him in a different role; the ace of the 2024 Cubs pitching staff.