Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Case for Marquis Fleming

If you look at minor league boxscores for the Rays on a daily (or in my case-nightly) basis, one thing that you'll notice when you scroll down and see Marquis Fleming's name in the Port Charlotte Stone Crabs boxscore is that he'll have zeros under most categories(runs, walks and hits) and he'll have a couple of strikeouts. For the year, in 10 innings of relief work for the Crabs, Marquis has 21 Ks, 4 walks and 3 hits. He's yet to even give up an earned run(0.51 FIP).

He's currently 23 and in High A, which is a bit "old" for the league. In the same breath, the Rays aren't a team who normally fast-track prospects anyways. He's a reliever showing dominance, but I'm sure the Rays are being cautious after promoting another relief ace, Matt Gorgen, to Montgomery midseason and watching his dominance stop. In 47.2 IP for Charlotte, Gorgen struck out 59 batters and only walked 16. His ERA was sub-1(0.59) and had a 4-0 W-L record before his promotion. While in Montgomery, he went 3-1 but his ERA sky-rocketed to 2.38, he walked 13 batters and his Ks were few and far between(18 in his 22.2 IP there). Also, he did this while being almost a full year younger than Marquis.

Is there reason for worry that, like Matt Gorgen, a promotion would pretty much end a dominant run and his stats would level out? Sure, but that comes with any pitching prospect. However, they're so early into the season, a promotion right now would be foolish. If he's as dominant as he is now with 40+ innings under his belt and Mitch Lukevics & company believe him to be ready, he'll be in Montgomery by June or July. With Matt Gorgen's ascension and then collapse, I think our player development staff now has a better understanding on handling relief prospects who are dominating their leagues early on and how to prevent such a collapse from happening again.

Just think, the Rays may have to face this situation again next year with Zachary Quate or Alexis Koronis.
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  1. I'm still hopeful for Gorgen. His whiff rate of 15.79% leads Montgomery (track manually thru Gameday). He has shown signs of being far more effective vs righties even during his Charlotte dominance. 14.2 vs 7.89 K/9. This year over half his balls in the air are pop ups, with no liners vs righties against 25 batters.

  2. Why is Quate considered next year?He is in Charlotte right now also. Maybe Shuman, but Quate?