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Slow start leads to up and down season for Rockies’ ace

Germán Márquez struggled to begin the season, but found his stride at time in bumpy 2022 campaign

MLB: Colorado Rockies at New York Mets Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the 2022 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back at every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2022. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.

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No. 6, Germán Márquez: 1.5 rWAR

A year removed from his first All-Star season, Germán Márquez started the 2022 campaign slowly, lacking the results the Rockies’ ace is expected to produce. After a solid first start against the Dodgers on Opening Day, Márquez struggled through the rest of April and May. During June and July, Márquez seemed to figure out his control and limited the amount of runs scored, including a 7 2⁄3 scoreless innings against the Twins on June 24th. Perhaps his best start of the year came in New York against the Mets. Márquez outdueling Max Scherzer with seven innings of one run ball to help the Rockies to a 1-0 road win.

Between June 12 and August 17, Márquez had a string of quality starts, having eight such in 12 starts. Despite the stretch, the former All-Star had a some bumpy starts, which was the story of his season as a whole. For every quality start, Márquez would have a short start with five or six earned runs.

On the season as a whole, Márquez went 9-13, throwing 181 23 innings in which had an ERA of 4.95 and struck out 150. The numbers for his 2021 All-Star season had some similar statistics for innings pitched, 180 in 2021 to 181 23 in 2022, and walks 63 to 64. But in 2021, Márquez was able to strikeout 26 more batters in the same amount of innings. So what were the main differences between this season and last? In 2021, Márquez had a Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) of 3.86, but that rose in to 4.71, by far the highest of his career. For those less familiar with this stat, FIP a stat that shows how effective a pitcher is for things they control such as home runs, walks, or strikeouts in the same measure as ERA. This link explains it in more detail.

So what does it mean for Márquez having higher for his FIP this season? Márquez was did not limit the things he controlled, specifically in the the home runs and strikeout categories. As mentioned in the paragraph above, Márquez struckout less batters this season and gave up 30 home runs, the most in his career. Striking out less batters and surrendering more home runs is a bad combination at the hitter-friendly confines of Coors Field. Another advanced stats that shows Márquez down year is ERA+ which is park-adjusted (100 is average, <100 is better than the average). 2022 marked the first time Márquez was below league average for a full season, dropping from 109 to 94 between the two seasons.

Looking onto next season, Márquez needs to pitch better if the Rockies look to take a step forward in 2023. The Rockies’ ace will be due $15 million next season for his age 28 season, followed by a club option worth $16 million for 2024. His contract status may cause interest for a trade with a contending team (just look at any Yankees’ fan page). While interest may be at its highest by bidders, the Rockies may look to get the most return out of their ace before or during the season.

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