Pop quiz hotshot: Who has more Ks over the last two seasons: Sean Marshall or Jair Jurrjens?
Obviously the only reason to ask the question is because Marshall is the answer, right? Wrong, hotshot. Marshall has seven less K’s than Jurrjens during that span, but that’s just a funny way of trying to talk about Marshall’s 2012 fantasy baseball value and get in Speed and Hot Shots references.
As a reliever, Marshal has 219 IPs with a 2.67 ERA, 1.18 WHIP and 3.12 K:BB rate. He has been straight up dirty over the last three seasons, averaging 79 IPs, a 3.13 ERA, 1.22 WHIP and 79 K’s.
Since Marshall became a full-time reliever, he has added velocity on his fastball and slider, while upping the usage of his curveball. He has posted 11% or better swinging strike rates each of the last two seasons and posted contact rates well below league average. He has paired minimal contact with an impeccable ground ball rate over the last two years as well. In short, he is, perhaps, baseball’s most dominant reliever.
The Reds obviously think highly of him, trading a somewhat promising young pitcher in Travis Wood and then signing Marshall to a three-year extension. And, while the Reds have Ryan Madson, he’s on a one-year deal and hasn’t thrown over 61 IPs since 2009. Madson has already had a little injury flare up during Spring Training, although reports are he’s fine and throwing again.
That said, it would be normal for Madson to miss a little time or a save opportunity here or there, which would open the door for Marshall. In almost any reasonably deep league, Marshall has value as a guy who will throw 70 innings, add a solid ERA (2.60) and WHIP (1.13) and strike out 78. In addition, he has a legitimate chance at 10+ saves. If not this year, grab him late or for $5, as he’ll be a top five closer in 2013.
Be one step ahead of the game by creating your own Marshall Plans. His ADP is 250, making him the 47th reliever off the board. At worst, he’ll be the 31st best reliever. There is no reason Greg Holland, Francisco Cordero, Fernando Salas, Sergio Romo and others should be going ahead of him.