"We've been tinkering with his curveball a little bit, just trying to create a little bit better out pitch," Trenton pitching coach Scott Aldred said.
The new pitch, which Marquez refers to as a "spike" curveball, is designed to have a sharper and faster break than the old curve.
Marquez hopes the pitch can be used as more of a strikeout weapon, as opposed to the original curve that was more of a "show me" pitch to contrast his fastball and changeup.
"I'm just mixing it in there there, trying to get comfortable with it," Marquez said. "It's a spike, so you have to move your finger up, and you have to get used to having your finger up on the ball. It's more of a strikeout curveball — a lot harder and a lot sharper."
The curve is still a work in progress, Aldred said, as Marquez has been trying to get the pitch over for strikes on a more consistent basis.
"Some are there, and some aren't quite there," he said.
But coincidence or not, the former first round pick has put together his finest season to date in the Yankees' organization, as the right-hander has gone 7-3 in 11 starts with a 2.90 earned run average — nearly a half run better than his career ERA.
"I feel the same, just a lot more experience, knowing how to pitch rather than just going up there and throwing the ball," Marquez said. "And I can't push enough getting ahead in the count to be successful."
And the 22 year-old Marquez has also surrendered just 2.48 walks per nine innings, also the best mark of his career thus far.
"He's pitched well," Aldred said. "He's starting to command his fastball better, and he's commanding all of his pitches just a little bit better than he has in the past, so there is some improvement there. The main thing I see is that he's pitching with more confidence now."
Also impressive for the right-hander has been his ability to win games this season. Coming into the year with a 20-23 career mark, but in '07 Marquez has been averaging close to six innings per start, as opposed to 2005 in Charleston, when despite pitching to a credible 3.42 ERA, Marquez went 9-13, averaging just 5.17 innings pitched per start.
When Marquez first began pitching in the Yankee organization in the Gulf Coast League in 2004, it appeared he could potentially don the pinstripes in '07 with the way he was being moved through the organization. But while Marquez says he would be excited and ready for any opportunities in New York, Aldred admits there is still some work to be done.
"I think he has some more work to do before that happens; the command has to improve on all three [pitches]. I think his delivery is pretty sound, there are a few flaws in it, but overall he just needs more experience," Aldred said. "But, he's got three pretty good pitches, and I think he's throwing them all with confidence right now."
Marquez Enhancing His Curve
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