Prospect Profile: Jay Marshall, RP

The Oakland A's had one of the best bullpens in the American League last season, but that hasn't stopped them from stock-piling good relievers. One of the A's new relievers is Jay Marshall, a Rule 5 pick from the White Sox chain. We take a look at Marshall's career and provide a scouting report on the left-hander inside...

Jay Marshall, LHP, 6'5'', 185

Career Statistics

Year

Team

Lg

Age

W/L

ERA

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

H/9

BB/9

K/9

2003

BRI

RK

20

2-0

2.61

41.1

38

15

12

13

42

3

8.27

2.83

9.15

2004

BRI

RK

21

1-6

3.59

57.2

63

31

23

8

52

8

9.83

1.25

8.12

2004

GRFLS

RK

21

2-0

3.45

15.2

19

9

6

6

17

2

10.91

3.45

9.77

2005

GRFLS

RK

22

2-0

2.70

43.1

35

20

13

7

43

3

7.27

1.45

8.93

2006

W-S

CAR

23

5-1

1.02

62

46

11

7

8

44

2

6.68

1.16

6.39


Background

Marshall was selected as a draft-and-follow pick by the Chicago White Sox in the 25th round of the 2002 draft. He signed with the White Sox in 2003 after a junior college career at Jefferson Junior College.

The White Sox moved Marshall slowly through their system. He spent the 2003 and most of the 2004 seasons at Bristol of the Appalachian League (Rookie League), where he was a starter. At the end of the 2004 season, he moved up to Great Falls of the Pioneer League, where he made four appearances. However, it was the 2005 season where Marshall's career turned the corner.

Until spring training 2005, Marshall had utilized a ¾ throwing motion. That spring, Marshall began to experiment with a submarine throwing motion. After some extended work in spring training, the White Sox sent their new submariner back to Great Falls, where he would now act as a reliever. He posted a 2.70 ERA in 29 appearances for Great Falls and he struck out 43 while walking only seven.

After that breakthrough season, Marshall was finally given an opportunity to compete in a full-season league. The lefty was sent to High-A Winston-Salem in 2006. He made a career-high 58 appearances, going 5-1 with a 1.02 ERA. In 62 innings, Marshall struck out 44 and walked only eight. He also allowed only 46 hits and two homeruns.

Based on the strength of his 2006 campaign, the Oakland A's took a flier on Marshall, taking him in the Rule 5 draft despite the fact that he has never pitched above High-A ball.

Scouting Report

Marshall projects to be a left-handed version of another reliever that the A's acquired from the White Sox: Chad Bradford. Like Bradford, Marshall is a tall pitcher who had mediocre stuff until he changed his throwing motion to the submarine-style. Marshall is also similar to Bradford in that he is an extreme groundball pitcher who dominates same-side hitters (in Marshall's case, left-handed hitters).

In 2006, Marshall induced nearly five groundballs for every flyball. He also held left-handed hitters to an amazing .096 batting average against, as left-handers went only 10-for-104 against him.

Marshall throws a mid-80s fastball, a change-up and a slider. He allowed right-handed hitters to bat .313 against him last season, so he is likely to be most effective as a left-handed relief specialist, at least at this stage in his career. Even though his submarine throwing motion is relatively new, he does a good job repeating his delivery. He has excellent control and he threw only two wild pitches in 2006.

Chances Of Sticking

If the A's owned Marshall's full-rights, he would probably be a long-shot to make the team out of spring training. Oakland already has four left-handers with significant major league relief experience on the roster (Joe Kennedy, Brad Halsey, Ron Flores and Alan Embree). Marshall was dominant last season, but that was against High-A competition, which is a long way from the major leagues.

Unless the A's can make a trade with Chicago to acquire Marshall's full rights, he will be given every opportunity to make the A's 25-man roster this spring, despite his inexperience. He would give the A's a groundball specialist and a pitcher who dominates left-handed hitters, two qualities Oakland doesn't have a lot of in their bullpen currently.

If Marshall shows the same control and groundball tendencies that he displayed at Winston-Salem last season, he will probably make the team. If he struggles to throw strikes, however, he will probably be offered back to Chicago. Even if he doesn't make the A's 25-man roster this spring, he should have a good shot at a major league career in a year or two.


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