- Full name Sean Christopher Marshall
- Born 08/30/1982 in Richmond, VA
- Profile Ht.: 6'7" / Wt.: 225 / Bats: L / Throws: L
- School Virginia Commonwealth
- Debut 04/09/2006
Drafted in the 6th round (163rd overall) by the Chicago Cubs in 2003 (signed for $143,000).
View Draft ReportVirginia Commonwealth's twin 6-foot-5 lefthanders, reliever Brian Marshall and starter Sean Marshall, both have projectable bodies and helped the Rams compile the best team ERA in Division I. Look for each to go before the 10th round. Sean is more of a soft-tosser at 86-88 mph and could add velocity as he fills out his slim frame. His curveball is his best pitch. Brian's fastball touches 91 and he can throw that pitch and his changeup, splitter and slider from several different arm slots, including submarine. His lower arm slot provides excellent deception and movement. He's a Graeme Lloyd type whose resilient, loose arm allows him to work back-to-back days. He had 11 saves for the Rams this season.
Organization Prospect Rankings
Marshall and his twin brother Brian were part of a Virginia Commonwealth staff that led NCAA Division I with a 2.54 ERA in 2003, when the Red Sox took Brian in the fifth round and the Cubs selected Sean in the sixth. Sean has a 2.64 ERA in pro ball, but missed time in 2004 with a ruptured tendon in his left middle finger and again in 2005 with shoulder soreness. Marshall picks up plenty of groundballs and strikeouts thanks to an 88-92 mph sinker that can reach 95. He keeps batters off balance with his curveball, a sharp downer he can change speeds with. He commands both pitches well. The tendon injury was a fluke and his shoulder problems were probably related to compensating for the finger, but Marshall still hasn't proven he can hold up over a full season. He'll have to improve his changeup to remain a starter, and he's working on a slider. The Cubs believe Marshall is on the verge of a breakthrough season in 2006. He'll probably open the year in Double-A but isn't too far from the majors if he can stay healthy.
Marshall and his twin brother Brian helped Virginia Commonwealth top NCAA Division I with a 2.54 ERA in 2003, when Boston drafted Brian in the fifth round and Chicago grabbed Sean in the sixth. He excelled in his first two pro stops before partially rupturing a tendon in his left middle finger while throwing a breaking pitch in mid June, and the problem recurred in the Arizona Fall League. Marshall's 88-92 mph sinker tops out at 95 and generates a lot of groundballs and strikeouts. His No. 2 pitch is a sharp downer curveball that he can change speeds with. His command and stuff allowed him to reach Double-A after 22 pro starts. Marshall also throws a slider and changeup, and improving the latter pitch is the key to him remaining a starter. His finger injury has perplexed the Cubs, but he saw a specialist in January and is expected to be ready for spring training. He got knocked around in Double-A before he got hurt, so Marshall will return there in 2005. He and Renyel Pinto are close to giving the Cubs a much-needed quality lefthanded starter.
Marshall and his twin brother Brian helped Virginia Commonwealth lead NCAA Division I with a 2.54 team ERA in 2003. Afterward, Brian signed with the Red Sox as a fifth-rounder and Sean went to the Cubs in the sixth round. Though he has a ways to go to reach his ceiling, Marshall has similar upside to Andy Sisco. He has a projectable body at 6-foot-6 and 195 pounds. While he currently pitches in the high 80s, he has touched 93 mph and could get there regularly. And while it's not overpowering at this point, his heater is tough to hit because of its movement and his command of it. He varies the speeds on a curveball that can be a plus pitch, and he's not afraid to throw his changeup in any count. Marshall throws strikes and keeps the ball down in the zone. He just needs to work on adding strength and establishing his fastball more often. He has an advanced feel for pitching and could move quickly. Marshall could handle a promotion to high Class A but the Cubs' logjam of pitching may send him to low Class A to begin 2004.
Minor League Top Prospects
Marshall blew through the MWL in just seven starts, opening the season by hitting 95 mph during six shutout innings at chilly Battle Creek and heading to Double-A after a two-hit shutout of Burlington in mid-May. Battle Creek manager Bill Mosiello said Marshall was the best starting pitcher he saw all year. Marshall usually pitches at 88-92 mph with nifty sink that yielded a stellar 63-26 groundball-flyball ratio in the MWL. His curveball and changeup are average to plus pitches, and he also fiddles with a slider. He excels at changing speeds and locating his pitches. Marshall's season ended in mid-June, when he partially ruptured a tendon in the middle finger on his throwing hand. He's expected to return for the Arizona Fall League.
Marshall's smooth, easy delivery creates deception, causing managers to dub his fastball sneaky fast despite average velocity (86-88 mph, topping out at 91). It's also full of life and he locates it well, making it look more impressive, especially when Marshall pairs it with his changeup, which he'll throw in any count. His big, slow-breaking curveball rates as a plus pitch, and Marshall also throws a slider. He should stay in a rotation as long as he can mix his offerings and keep hitters off balance, as he did while ranking third in the league in strikeouts. His twin brother Brian is a reliever in the Red Sox system. "He throws his curveball two speeds," McFarland said. "There's a hard one and a slower, more loopy one. He'll go to these against different hitters in different situations. But sometimes he relies too much on the breaking ball and needs to learn he can pitch with his fastball."