Once upon a time, when the country wasn't under a nationwide quarantine, baseball was played at many different levels.
Brailyn Marquez is a 20-year-old left-handed pitcher who has passed through several levels of the Chicago Cubs' minor league system and has seen a rise in his prospect rankings as a result of his stellar 2019 campaign.
Marquez has been in the Cubs' system for four seasons. Last season, he began with the South Bend Cubs and finished with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, catching the eyes of many as the radar gun saw him consistently hit triple digits with his fastball reaching as high as 102 MPH. His performance earned him the Cubs' co-minor league pitcher of the month with Jack Patterson in July 2019 after he sported a brilliant month with South Bend.
The young southpaw went 2-1 with a 1.65 ERA over five starts in July. Those numbers earned him a promotion to Myrtle Beach. In total, at South Bend, Marquez fanned 102 batters in 77.1 innings, finishing with a 3.61 ERA in 17 starts.
He continued his strong play with the Pelicans, posting a 1.71 ERA over 26.1 innings to close out his 2019 campaign. It was his best season as a professional as he posted career highs in strikeouts and innings pitched. The Cubs eventually named Marquez their Minor League Pitcher of the Year for 2019.
As many Cubs' fans know, the Cubs have struggled to develop homegrown pitching under the Theo Epstein regime, but there is potential with Adbert Alzolay once 2020 play begins. Marquez is the next pitcher on the list of arms the Cubs hope to develop. Baseball America has Marquez slated as a top-of-the-line rotation arm for the Cubs by 2023. He's a guy to keep an eye on as he moves up the Cubs system, no doubt.
If you didn't know Brailyn Marquez before you read this article, there's no time like now to get acquainted.