Young Gun Brailyn Marquez Next in Line to Lead the Cubs’ Rotation?

Chicago Cubs fans will have been aware of the name Brailyn Marquez for some time, given the 22-year-old starting pitcher has been within the Cubs developmental system since 2016; but now, Marquez looks like he is near ready to get the call up to the major league.

Brailyn Marquez was born in January 1999 in the Domincan Republic and has worked his way up to becoming the top prospect in the Cubs’ organization. He is currently assigned to the Tennessee Smokies, the Double-A affiliate of Chicago, and is awaiting his first action of the season after battling COVID-19 earlier in the Spring.

Standing at 6-foot-4, the southpaw can throw over 100 miles per hour, nearly seven MPH faster than the 2019 average of 93.4, and has a nasty out swinging slider in his repertoire along with a change-up that he has grown better at utilizing over the years.

Marquez also has the advantage of delivering from a sideways platform, combining his powerful left hand with an unorthodox release point to baffle batters time and time again.

The young gun has a career record of 16-12 in the Minor Leagues and went 9-5 in 2019 with a 3.13 ERA. Additionally, Marquez finished all 22 games that he started that season and only allowed five home runs.

Marquez’s best game of his young career came as a member of the South Bend Cubs, Chicago’s High-A representative. The Domincan talisman set a club record with 14 strikeouts en route to a 4-1 victory over the Lake County Captains, allowing one hit and zero walks in the process. Marquez also struck out the first three batters that he faced with fastballs exceeding 100 MPH.

One of the concerns for the up-and-coming star was his control over his pitches, walking 55 batters in 103.2 innings during the 2019 season, though he showed improvement later in the season. Now, all that is left for Marquez is the opportunity to prove himself again on the big stage.

Marquez was granted one game with the Cubs in 2020 against the Chicago White Sox during which he massively underperformed, allowing five earned runs in two-thirds of an inning. This was his first time pitching above the Single-A level, and with that horrendous debut now behind him, the only direction to go is up— and the Cubs need his help.

Chicago currently sits at 34-27 and second place in the National League’s Central Division despite all five of its usual starting pitchers performing at around a mediocre level. Kyle Hendricks leads the way with a 7-4 record while Trevor Williams brings up the rear at 2-3, and Adbert Alzolay has a team-best ERA of 4.06, which would rank 49th amongst all qualified players. Not impressive.

Looking back at the Cubs’ World Series triumph in 2016, they relied heavily at times upon sound pitching from their starters as well as their bullpen. Hendricks and Jon Lester maintained ERAs of 2.13 and 2.44 respectively while the three other usual suspects all managed to throw under 3.83 on average, meaning that Chicago’s worst pitcher that year performed better than its best pitcher has so far this year.

Marquez, whether he racks up wins or losses, will bring the future to Chicago Cubs fans immediately. He is tall, strong, talented, and could develop into the player capable of matching the Cubs’ explosive offense on the mound. He is not the highest-ranked prospect for nothing, after all.

Making the decision to call up a new player and let him make early mistakes is never easy, but with the direction that the Cubs’ pitching corps is trending in and Marquez’s vast potential, it could be right about time to make the call.