The 2022 season has not been kind to Colorado Rockies righty Germán Márquez. With one start remaining in the campaign, Márquez has been tagged for a 5.12 ERA, 4.81 FIP and sits in the top-three in the league in home runs surrendered with a whopping 30.
This is the same Márquez that racked up 648 strikeouts and a 4.18 ERA over 622 innings pitched from 2018-2021, leading all Colorado hurlers with a 15.6 fWAR in that span. Despite only producing a winning season in one of those four years, the Rockies made it clear they weren’t interested in moving Márquez and his two remaining years of control after the 2021 season.
Germán Márquez 2021-2022
These underwhelming results have not been easy to diagnose with the eye. After all, his velocity is up and he is actually getting more movement on his pitches than in years past. Mario DeGenz has done a ton of digging on Márquez this year, first pointing out the difference of movement and extension on his pitches this season before expanding the scope to Márquez’s pitch mix and curveball usage in August.
This is where the Rockies are at with the right-hander; trying to figure out what has gone awry with their ace. Márquez’ value has taken a nose-dive this season, leaving the Rockies no choice but to try and fix their leaky pitcher because that’s the direction they committed to when there was a choice to be made.
So let’s throw another suggestion out there and take a look at his sinker, which has been beaten to a pulp this season.
His reliance on the offering has tripled this season, jumping from 7.4% to 24%. That increase mirrors the rate of his four-seam fastball, which has dropped 16% from last year. The concept of mixing his primary offering – the fastball – makes sense on paper. More fastballs with movement should result in more whiffs and weak contact.
Unfortunately, that has not happened as opposing hitters have blasted his more-utilized sinker this season. His hard-hit rate against the offering is up 35% while the swing-and-miss percentage against the pitch has dropped almost 9%. Nine of his 30 home runs surrendered have come off the sinker, which corresponds with the 12% drop in ground balls off the pitch.
Practically every statistic shows that his sinker has just not been an effective pitch this season. Which begs the question, why is he throwing it more?
There doesn’t appear to be a clear answer to that question, which leads to a simple belief that Márquez and the Colorado coaching staff decided to try and fix something that wasn’t broken.
After deciding they would build around instead of build from Márquez last off-season, the Rockies have once again seen a questionable roster decision backfire spectacularly. But they have two years to fix it, both for the success of Márquez and the franchise. This is the horse they decided they are going to ride back to contention, but the 2022 campaign casts doubts on that plan.
If his performance in 2023 is similar to this season, the once slam-dunk $16 million team option for 2024 will begin to feel questionable. So Márquez and the Rockies need to act this off-season on getting him right. Either correcting or ditching the sinker he featured in 2022 seems like a good place to start.
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Anthony Franco provides a poignant look at the Colorado Rockies heading into the off-season. For better or worse, Colorado has locked into their core with recent extensions and, barring unexpected aggression on the free agent or trade markets, will likely enter the 2023 season with a very similar roster.
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On The Farm
Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes (COL) season concluded on Sept. 28 (Final record: 62-86)
Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats (COL) season concluded on Sept. 18 (Final record: 34-34)
High-A: Spokane Indians (COL) season concluded on Sept. 11 (Final record: 30-36)
Low-A: Fresno Grizzlies (COL) season concluded on Sept. 20 (Final record: 42-24)
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