Brett Marshall has been with the New York Yankees since 2008 when he was drafted in the sixth round. The 6’0″, 195-pound righthander from Texas has slowly, but steadily moved up through the ranks within the club’s farm system. However, his journey hasn’t been without some hiccups. For instance, he had Tommy John surgery after struggling through the 2009 season, but he’s come back strong and has pushed along his prospect status enough to make the Yankees notice.**Be sure to check out the other prospects in this series by clicking here or the Prospects tab at the top of this page**
Marshall has pitched to a 3.41 ERA and has compiled a 26-16 record since his surgery. Perhaps the most important part is that he hasn’t missed a start since then. Just last season he led the Yankees Double-A affiliate, Trenton Thunder, to the Eastern League finals after recording 13 wins and 120 strikeouts. Winning at the minor league level isn’t the most important aspect, but pitching in big games have a knack of carrying over to the next level, and Marshall’s resume now includes just that.
He’s a four-pitch hurler who features a fastball clocking in around 90-94 mph. According to John Manuel of Baseball America (BA), since Marshall’s elbow reconstruction he now pounds the strikezone with his fastball using a three-quarter arm slot, which gives his pitches sinking action. His most effective pitch is his changeup, which BA designated as the system’s best. By using similar arm action on both pitches, he’s able to use the combination effectively at each level in his career thus far.
His other two pitches, a curveball and slider, are rated as average-to-below average. The Yankees prefer a curveball over a slider, but it’s his slider that shows more potential. Marshall uses that not as a strikeout pitch, but rather to induce groundballs. Meanwhile, his curveball is nothing to write home about as he uses it as a mix-in pitch to keep batters off-balance, but he has been able to throw it for strikes.
Marshall isn’t a strikeout artist as evidenced by his 6.82 K/9 in 2012. That is actually down from his 7.31 K/9 total in 2011 while as a member of the Tampa Yankees at the A+ level. He keeps his walk totals to a minimum too (~3 walks per nine), which will serve him well going forward. He also keeps the ball in the park (0.85 HR/9 in 2012).
So how does he compare and shake out? He’ll most likely be a back-of-the-rotation starter and could get a taste of the majors as a September call-up later this year. He’ll start his season in Triple-A with the Scranton RailRiders. Going forward he’ll most likely be competing for a rotation spot in 2014, but he’ll need to beat out Adam Warren, David Phelps, or Ivan Nova to procure a spot, which is no easy task.
The pitching staff could be without Hiroki Kuroda and Andy Pettitte in 2014 due to retirement, so he might just need to outperform only one of those guys in order to stay with the big club, or he might follow the same path as Phelps did and be the team’s spot starter/long reliever for a season before really going after a spot. All in all, he’s not projected to be an ace and therefore he flies under-the-radar in many circles, but he’s a viable back-of-the-rotation strter with definite upside, à la Phelps.