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Sean Marshall, best 5th starter in baseball?

28

Not the tallest, if you count randy johnson...and is marshall even a 5th starter...(don't ask heilman)... Excerpt: So here’s why I like Marshall: The guy is a legit pitching prospect. He’s only 26 years old this season. His minor-league track record includes an ERA of 2.69, a WHIP of 1.13 and nearly a strikeout per inning pitched (323 K in 337 1/3 inn.). Moreover, Marshall’s shown over parts of the last three seasons that he can translate that track record to the big leagues. After a rough start in 2006 when he posted a 5.56 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP in 24 starts, he’s improved in both of those stats each of the last two years. Working mostly as a starter in 2007 the numbers were 3.92 and 1.34, and last year splitting his innings as a starter and reliever they were 3.86 and 1.27. Marshall’s also improved his K-rate and issued fewer free passes per nine innings since his debut. The conventional stats as well as the peripherals say the Cubs should have a left-handed pitcher who is better than league average behind Carlos Zambrano, Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster and Ted Lilly. There’s reason to think he could be better than that. Considering how fragile Harden and Dempster have been over the course of their careers, Marshall is a good bet to approach 180-200 innings this season. He should be ready for that workload with the bonus of having been overworked as a younger player. Marshall may lack the upside of some other guys I’ll mention, but I think he’s far and away the best bet to give his team the most cumulative value, and the most consistent performance from the start of the season until the end.

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