Brailyn Marquez was nothing short of dominant on Thursday as the Cubs’ No. 3 prospect led Class A South Bend to a 4-1 win over Lake County (Indians).
Marquez spun the best start of his career as he surrendered just one hit and racked up 14 strikeouts, yes 14, over six scoreless frames.
The 20-year-old, who struck out seven in his last start and had a previous career high of eight, wasted no time getting started. Marquez struck out the first six batters he faced and was perfect until giving up a one-out single in the fourth.
If the Captains thought this was a sign of things to come, they were mistaken as Marquez, somehow, got even more dominant.
The lefty struck out the next two hitters to finish the inning, then struck out the side in the fifth and sixth innings, concluding his outing with eight straight strikeouts.
Marquez, whom the Cubs signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, is the ninth pitcher to record 14 or more strikeouts in the Minor Leagues this season. He’s also the first to do so in the Midwest League.
The other eight are as follows:
Philip Pfeifer, 7/18, 17
Elliot Ashbeck, 6/16, 15
Deivi Garcia, 6/18, 15
Nick Pivetta, 4/28, 14
Jhoan Duran, 5/26, 14
Ian Anderson, 6/28, 14
Dustin May, 6/22, 14
Nabil Crismatt, 7/10, 14
Marquez, who threw 53 of his 71 pitches for strikes, has pitched to a 3.91 ERA through 71 1/3 innings this season. Marquez throws his fastball in the upper 90s, and while his curveball shows flashes of becoming a plus pitch, it lacks consistency.
Marquez pitched across two levels last year. If he can’t harness his command and develop into a full-time starter, his stuff is good enough that it’s likely he becomes a solid reliever.