Wednesday, July 31, 2013

RailRiders: Brett Marshall is turning it around in a major way

MOOSIC — I have been one of Brett Marshall’s staunchest critics throughout 2013.

I mean, after trudging through the first three months of the season carrying a 3-6 record alongside a 5.00 ERA, who wouldn’t have felt doomed every time he stepped to the mound?

But in late June, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders’ right-handed starter told reporters he was working on a new throwing motion.

Personally, I haven’t picked up on any differences, but whatever he tweaked seems to have made a huge difference.

Since talking about changing his physical stance on the mound, Marshall has turned over a new leaf, registering three wins and a 2.88 ERA in his past eight starts.

After putting forward one of the — excuse me if I’m living in the moment too much — best pitching performances in recent franchise history, in which he tallied eight innings pitched, allowing just one run and five hits, he was quite mum.

"I feel like I didn't have much today," Marshall said. "I felt like I was kind of lucky."

According to Donnie Collins, Marshall said he didn't have command of his fastball and his changeup was so inconsistent that he rarely threw it.

So, Brett, that's what it takes?

Then just try to be lucky for every start, especially with the RailRiders within five games of the wild card.

"Marshall doesn't have a sexy profile as a pitching prospect, sitting in the 89-91 range and touching 93 at times," said Baseball Prospect Nation in their latest evaluation of Marshall. "His long-term profile sits in the number four or five starter realm and he could be ready to fulfill that role in 2014."

Marshall has already has his first shot in the bigs, relieving Phil Hughes after a disastrous start in mid-May against the Mariners. Marshall wasn't terrible, but was still outmatched and not ready for the major leagues, tallying 5.2 innings pitched, allowing five runs.

However, I like to think Baseball Prospect Nation struck the nail on its head with Marshall because I see exactly what they're saying ... metaphorically and physically.

He usually sits in the 90-mph zone on his fastball with decent secondary pitches, but control is everything. If he controls his pitches, he is indeed a four or five starter in MLB.

But hey, he did say felt "kind of lucky" for his best performance of 2013. Maybe luck could be his ticket to The Show.

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