Emilio Marquez Has A Warrior Mentality
Emilio Marquez is a 5-foot-8 lefthander who opened the season as a 23-year-old at Low-A Columbia. He has never appeared on a Royals top prospects list.
In other words, the Venezuelan is the epitome of an under-the-radar prospect.
Marquez’s statistics tell a different story. He has been consistently effective at every level and is the kind of overachieving player who will eventually show up in the big leagues.
Fans with undoubtedly ask, “Who is this guy?”
Before being promoted to High-A Quad Cities, Marquez dazzled at Low-A, posting a 6-1 record, 1.86 ERA in 20 games pitching as both a starter and reliever. His impressive 87-to-16 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 63 innings is consistent with previous performances.
The Royals signed Marquez in early in 2018, just two months shy of his 20th birthday after a tryout at the their academy in the Dominican Republic.
“This kid was so appreciative that tears came out of him,” Royals vice president and head of international operations Rene Francisco said. “Very, very happy to be given the opportunity.”
Marquez's success can be attributed to how he commands his three pitches. None of his offerings grade as more than average, but they all play up because of his advanced pitchability and how well he commands his 88-92 mph fastball, curveball and changeup.
“His strengths are his strike-throwing ability,” Royals director of pitching performance said Paul Gibson said. “He mixes his pitches really well, throws his curveball for strikes, and he’s not afraid to throw his secondary pitches when he’s behind in the count.”
Not only is he talented, but he's also resilient. Marquez and his Venezuelan teammates spent last summer working out in Surprise, Ariz., after their home country shut its borders.
Marquez has primarily been used in a tandem-starter system in the low minors, with his long-term projection being a multi-inning swingman or back-of-the-rotation starter. Regardless of Marquez's ultimate role, Gibson sees a major league contributor.
“This kid’s a warrior, a plus makeup kid,” Gibson said. “He does anything we ask him to do, and he does it with a smile.”
— Another Venezuelan prospect who has taken a step forward this year is 21-year-old shortstop Maikel Garcia who, like Marquez, began the 2021 season with Low-A Columbia before being promoted to Quad Cities. Throughout his minor league career, Garcia has intrigued scouts with his potential plus defense but with the observation that he needed to get stronger and show more with the bat.
The switch-hitting Garcia was taking quality at-bats in instructional league last fall, and that carried over into his 51 games at Columbia where he totaled more walks (38) than strikeouts (33) in 237 plate appearances.