Germán Márquez will be the first to tell you he needs to have a better season in 2023 than the last. 2022 was Márquez’ worst full season of his major league career, and the worst season overall since his 2016 rookie campaign. After a difficult first few months of the season he finally started putting things together after the All-Star Break, but still ended up turning in a 4.95 ERA and a career high 4.71 FIP over 31 starts.
“For the first months, I was struggling,” Márquez said of his season. “But I got everything working and I started getting my results,”
However, the 28-year old Venezuelan ace of the Colorado Rockies rotation is ready to step up again for 2023.
“I feel like we have a lot of experience now, and we know how to pitch,” Márquez said. “From now on, you’re going to see how good we’re going to be.”
Despite tweaking his hamstring soon after pitchers and catchers reported to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, Germán Márquez turned in an excellent Cactus League performance. In four appearances (three starts) over 17 innings he posted an ERA of 0.53 and a WHIP of 0.765. He showcased excellent control over his pitches by walking just two batters of the 64 he faced and struck out a whopping 20 batters total.
For his efforts, Germán Márquez has been named the Opening Day starting pitcher for the Rockies. He will take the mound at Petco Park this afternoon to face off against the San Diego Padres in the first game of the season. This will be the third time Márquez has been given the nod for Opening Day.
“It means a lot to me,” Márquez told reporters in Arizona. “I’ve been working really hard. I’m so happy and I’m excited to be pitching the first game.”
What’s important about Márquez being named the Opening Day starter a third is that it’s never happened before in Colorado Rockies history. In their 30 years as a team the Rockies have had 20 different Opening Day starting pitchers. Only ten pitchers have made two Opening Day Starts and only six have made consecutive Opening Day starts.
Colorado Rockies Opening Day Starting Pitchers - 1993 through 2022
|2001||Mike Hampton||32||32||14-13||5.41||All-Star, Silver Slugger|
|2002||Mike Hampton||30||30||7-15||6.15||Silver Slugger|
|2005||Joe Kennedy||16||16||4-8||7.04||Traded to OAK|
|2011||Ubaldo Jiménez||21||21||6-9||4.46||Traded to CLE|
|2012||Jeremy Guthrie||19||15||3-9||6.35||Traded to KCR|
|2014||Jorge De La Rosa||32||32||14-11||4.10|
|2016||Jorge De La Rosa||27||24||8-9||5.51|
|2020||Germán Márquez||13||13||4-6||3.75||COVID-19 shortened season|
As the first starting pitcher to get the nod on three Opening Days, Márquez continues to cement his mark on Rockies history. Márquez has been climbing up the career pitching leaderboards for the franchise. He owns the team’s fourth best rWAR for pitchers at 15.7, just 3.2 points behind franchise leader Ubaldo Jiménez. He also has the fourth most wins, fourth best win-loss percentage, fourth most innings pitched, fourth most games started, the second best WHIP, BB9, and K/9, and he’s tied for third place for most shutouts pitched.
Márquez is also quickly becoming Colorado’s strikeout king. In 2018 he took the single season strikeout crown from Ubaldo Jiménez when he struck out 230 batters, and he is hot on the heals of Jorge De La Rosa for most career strikeouts in a Rockies uniform after overtaking Jiménez and former teammate Jon Gray. For a fun piece of trivia, Márquez also has the honors of pitching the most career strikeouts of any Venezuelan pitcher through their first 120 games (702), beating out former Seattle Mariners pitcher—and Márquez’ idol—Félix “King Félix” Hernández in 2021.
After his solid spring, Márquez is feeling confident heading into the 2023 season and looking to put his difficult 2022 in the past where it belongs.
“I feel like my delivery is good and I can make the pitches when I need to,” he told the Denver Post.
Rockies skipper Bud Black is also confident in his ace.
“If spring training is any indication, he’s in a good spot,” Black said. “...It speaks for itself.”
Márquez isn’t only playing for pride and to win games, but potentially for his future in a Rockies uniform. He is in the final—and most lucrative—season of a five year, $43 million extension he signed with the club prior to the 2019 season. Márquez is set to earn $15 million this season. If he returns to form this season and isn’t traded—the Rockies have previously referred to him as “off the table”—then the front office is likely to use Márquez’ $16 million club option for 2024. An additional contract extension might also be in his future if he wishes to remain with the organization.
Regardless of his 2024 status, or even his performance in 2023, Márquez is prepared once again to lead the Rockies clubhouse as a key member of their pitching staff and the Opening Day starter.
“Good games, bad games, when you are a leader — all the weight is on your shoulders,” Márquez said. “But we like that. We keep competing. This [last] year was a speed bump.”
Happy Opening Day, everyone. Baseball is back today.
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Are you somewhat out of the loop after a long offseason? MLB.com’s Thomas Harding and AJ Cassavell have the answers to frequently asked questions ahead of tonight’s Opening Day matchup against the San Diego Padres.
Rooftop Roundup: March 29th
Over at our podcasting and video branch with Fans First Sports Network we’re trying something new. Some commenters have suggested looking for a quick show with Rockies news. The Rooftop Roundup is your quick fix of daily Rockies news in one 60-second bite! Subscribe to the Rocky Mountain Rooftop YouTube channel or follow us on twitter for regular updates.
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