Marquez is expected to make his Major League debut in today’s game, Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein told reporters (including MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian). The plan is for Marquez to toss an inning of work that could serve as an audition for the postseason roster.
With a fastball that hits the 100mph threshold, Marquez represents a very intriguing x-factor for the Cubs’ playoff run if he can adjust quickly to big league hitters. The 21-year-old has never even pitched in Double-A ball, posting a 3.19 ERA, 2.84 K/BB rate, and 10.1 K/9 over 257 innings in Chicago’s farm system.
An international signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, Marquez emerged on top-100 prospect lists prior to the 2020 season. Baseball America ranked him 37th on their list, with MLB.com (68th), Keith Law (80th), and Baseball Prospectus (84th) all being a bit more reserved in their praise. BA’s scouting report cited Marquez’s potential front-of-the-rotation arsenal, including his big fastball, a “spike slider,” and also a changeup that was lacking in polish as a legitimate third pitch.
If everything is working, Marquez could be an ace of the future, though the issue is that his delivery doesn’t lend itself to repetition. Law thinks Marquez will eventually end up as “a very high-end closer” who can pitch multiple innings, and the Cubs certainly wouldn’t mind a preview of that potential future in this year’s playoffs, though obviously the long-term goal is that Marquez will develop into a quality starter.