Colorado Rockies: Three breakout candidates for 2019

tcrocker
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 16: Ryan McMahon #24 of the Colorado Rockies drives in a run during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on August 16, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - AUGUST 16: Ryan McMahon #24 of the Colorado Rockies drives in a run during the first inning against the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park on August 16, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /
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Germán Márquez

You’re probably saying to yourself right now, “Didn’t Márquez already kind of break out?” My answer to you is no, he did not. He was excellent for just the back half of the season (the last two months to be exact), but I think he still he has a season to come that will take the baseball world by storm.

A throw-in, essentially, in the Corey Dickerson-for-Jake McGee trade with Tampa Bay almost three years ago, Márquez has slowly turned himself into one of the brighter young guns in baseball over the last two seasons, and he still has a ton of ceiling left.

I fully expect for Márquez to be a Cy Young level guy in 2019, along with Kyle Freeland, and the two of them could very likely carry this team to the World Series. That’s how good they are.

Boasting an upper 90s fastball and a wipeout slider, Márquez struck out 230 guys this year in 33 starts. That’s a team record and he didn’t even throw 200 innings.

I think the craziest part of his season is that he wasn’t having a very good one up until July 20. In 20 starts prior to his 21st start on July 29, Márquez was 11-9 with a 5.00 ERA, 112 strikeouts to 40 walks in 108 innings. Opposing teams were hitting nearly .270 against him and getting on base at .335 clip, so for the way his season ended up turning out, it shows you just how dominant Márquez can be … and he only did it for two months.

In his final 13 starts, including the one-game playoff, the 23-year-old right-hander went 6-3 with a 2.25 ERA in 88 innings. He added 118 strikeouts, good for 12 per nine innings pitched, to just 17 walks, opponents batting average dropped to a mere .204, and opponents on-base average went to just .253.

When Márquez limits baserunners, like most good pitchers, he is nearly unstoppable. Walks have plagued Colorado starters in the past, and they hurt Márquez for the first few months of this season. When he tightened up his control … wow, just wow. If he can do this for 25 or 26 starts in 2019, instead of just 15 or 16 like in 2018, you could be looking at a future superstar in the purple pinstripes.

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