Tampa may have gotten a steal 

June, 23, 2011

I was in New Jersey for a night earlier this week and headed to Staten Island for the first time (at the park, not on the island, although my experiences on the latter are largely confined to driving across it and spending time stuck on the ironically-named Staten Island "Expressway"). I was there to see the S.I. Yanks against Tampa Bay's short-season affiliate, the Hudson Valley Renegades. The top draft pick on Hudson Valley, Kes Carter, had a scheduled night off, but their starting pitcher, Parker Markel, stole the show.

A 39th-round pick out of Yavapai Junior College in Arizona, Markel was 92-97 mph early in the outing with a plus slider at 81-82 and a solid-average changeup with good arm speed at 81-84, although I think the low arm slot will still work against him somewhat against left-handed hitters. There's a lot of effort in his delivery without much use of his lower half, and as a result he didn't hold the velocity through his outing, working at 91-93 in the sixth with much less bite on the slider. He's a low-3/4 slinger who doesn't stride much or get over his front side well, and that -- plus the fact that he didn't hold his stuff -- makes him more likely to be a reliever. Even then, he's a reliever with two plus pitches, an average third pitch, and an aggressive approach making him a potential asset with late-game potential. If I'm in Tampa's front office, I'm thinking about moving Markel to the pen now and fast-tracking him in case that arm action means he has a shorter shelf life. Great job by Tampa Bay's area scout in Arizona, Jayson Durocher, finding some hidden value here and sticking with Markel all last summer to get him signed.