Thursday, January 31, 2013

Prospect Countdown: #24 Justin Marks

24. Justin Marks Left Handed Pitcher

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Age: 25
Position: LHP
Height: 6-3
Weight: 195
Acquired: Via trade with OAK on 11/10/10 with Vin Mazzaro for David DeJesus
From: Owensboro, KY

Paden Bennett (NR):  Marks has looked great in the Arizona Fall League, and hopefully he can finally translate that to a full season of consistent pitching.  Marks doesn't have ace stuff but he has above average stuff and I could easily see him making an impact in the Royals rotation as a 3-5 starter.  In order to do that, Marks will have to improve on his control and keep his walk rate down.  In 85 innings with Northwest Arkansas last season, Marks walked 38 batters.  That is too high for him to make the jump he needs to make.  Let's hope his numbers this offseason translate to the regular season.

Joe Cox (NR)Justin Marks is a 6-3, 195 pound left handed pitcher who made some positive strides in 2012.  The Royals like his arm enough to protect him from the rule 5 draft by adding him to the 40 man roster following the season.   Marks turned 25 earlier in January, and will hopefully play in Omaha to start the year.  Marks played primarily in AA last season, and while his numbers from his 17 starts don’t jump out at you, they were solid.  In 85 innings marks compiled 73 strike outs and had a 3.80 ERA.  He did walk too many with 38 free passes, but he has at least shown signs for potential growth.  While Marks does not project to be more than a back end starter or middle relief arm, I do think that he has a chance to be a valuable arm for a team in the Royals that need pitchers like him to stay solid and maintain pitching depth along the organizational ladder. 

Damion Mandalas (23):  I've said it many times, but while there is always a lot of attention placed on front end guys, accumulating prospects with back end potential also is important. Teams will always struggle to fill rotations with the top guys, but if you can fill in the gaps with guys like Justin Marks it can go along way in a team's development. I've heard it said many times, but an organization needs ten starting pitchers that are MLB capable to get through a season. Hopefully, Marks can go to Omaha, and be one of those guys should the Royals need to call upon him in 2013, whether for a spot start or as a trade piece.

It should be noted that Marks had a terrific Arizona Fall League campaign. In 24.1 innings pitched, Marks struck out 22 and walked just 5. He limited hitters to a .253 average. Let's hope this will springboard him into 2013.

Dan Ware (28):  Marks had an acceptable season with Northwest Arkansas in 2012.  Starting in 17 appearances on the mound for the Naturals, he compiled a 3.80 ERA in 85.1 innings.  After impressing coaches and the front office with his performance with the Naturals, he got the call to Omaha.  Let's just say we'll forget about his one and only start, even though we can't ignore him only throwing less than 2 innings, giving up 9 ER, 7 H, walking 3 and didn't record a strikeout.  Not everybody excels in their first AAA start.  This past offseason was "great success" (Borat) for Justin.  Competing in the Arizona Fall League, he started 7 games, ended with a 5-1 record, 2.59 ERA, throwing 24.1 innings, striking out 22 and walking just 5 batters.  If Marks can repeat those numbers for the Naturals this upcoming season, it won't be long before he gets another chance to pitch in Omaha.

Total Points: 11

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