Brailyn Marquez – Picture by Todd Johnson
Welcome to Episode 9 of the Offseason Mailbag. We still have plenty of questions left to answer this winter and lots of time to get to them.
Let’s get going on this week’s question!
Farradn1965@yahoo.com asked: Do you see a world where either Derek Casey, Jack Patterson, or Brailyn Marquez make it back at a usable pitcher of some kind?
For a reference point, Derek Casey had TJS in the summer of 2021 after having a great first half at South Bend. He has not pitched since. Jack Patterson had TJS in 2021 and had a setback last spring and has not pitched in a game that mattered since 2019 after going through 3 levels that year. As for Marquez, he also has not pitched in the minors since 2019 but was at the alternate site in 2020 and got in 2/3 of an inning on the last day of the 2020 MLB season. Since then, Marquez lost his 40 man spot and has been seen occasionally on the practice field in Mesa.
Since Rich Biesterfeld is out in Arizona full time, we thought we would add Rich’s thoughts on the matter as well as what he has seen.
I last observed Jack Patterson pitching in early May. I heard he had a setback after that, but never heard anything definitive on what happened and haven’t see him around camp since then. I saw Brailyn Marquez in early October and he was throwing off flat ground and appeared to be in good shape. Derek Casey was in full uniform and playing catch in late October. He appeared to be close to wrapping up his rehab but I’m not certain on that. On Wednesday, the Casey was seen playing, catch on the field with the rehab group. He seemed to be throwing free and easy.
This is a great question and probably the one that has stumped me the most of this offseason’s mailbag series. I’ll lead off by saying I’m really excited to see Derek Casey in a bullpen role moving forward. I think the stuff he features could work well as a reliever. The problem is that the Cubs have such impressive bullpen (and starter) depth in the upper levels of the minors and that will impact each one of these guys.
You won’t find a bigger Jack Patterson fan than me. I try to mix realism and fandom when I write but with Jack, I just can’t do that. He has battled back from adversity his entire baseball life and I wouldn’t dare bet against his return to the mound.
With Marquez, it’ll be interesting to see how much time he spends down in Arizona when opening day rolls around for the affiliates. I’d guess that he works some things out down there before heading north to the Tennessee bullpen where he can reset his career and ideally try to perfect a role as a sidearming lefty reliever that touches triple digits. Talent alone puts Marquez as the most likely of this group to figure it out once again.
This question is a tough one because I’ve internally argued about each one making the most sense here. So while I believe they all have a chance I’ll go with Brailyn Marquez. I have reservation on his pitch mix and the shape of his fastball, but velo is still velo. If he’s able to concentrate solely on relief and optimizing his fastball and slider, that can still play.
A lot of time has elapsed for all three of these players. Missing this much time has to be devastatingly cruel to one’s mental makeup. Thankfully, all are still relatively young and likely to be in the upper minors if and when they return. Casey is 26, Patterson will be 27 for most of 2023, and Marquez will be 24 next month which is still very young. I hope that all three can get in games this year. All three will likely be bullpen arms for the foreseeable future. It will take a couple of years to build that arm strength anywhere near a starting role.
From what I have seen and heard, Casey might stand the best chance of returning first even though this is his second go around with TJS. But with his curveball and command of his pitches, he could be a force as a setup man quickly. I hope Jack makes it back as he has some nasty movement on his slider. If he can get back, he probably would be the first one to get to the majors. As for Marquez, I just don’t know anymore. Hopefully, being stripped of a 40-man spot and no one claiming him on waivers was a wakeup call for his career.
If you would like to get a question in, you can tweet at us on Twitter, you can send us an email, or you can just put one in the comments down below. We will be back with Episode 9 next week. In the meantime, check out our previous episodes!
Offseason Mailbag Series
Episode 1 – Canario and Davis to Chicago
Episode 2 – Cade Horton in 2023
Episode 3 – Nazier Mule
Episode 4 – Who’s Your Guy in the Draft
Episode 5 – Rule 5 Predictions
Episode 6 – Is the System for Real
Episode 7 – Weakness
Episode 8 – 2024 Rotation Arms
Episode 9 – Casey, Patterson, and Brailyn Marquez