Brett Marshall | RHP
Marshall grew up in the Houston suburb of Baytown, where he attended Sterling High School, one-time home of Clyde Drexler and fellow Yanks’ farmhand Brett Smith. He didn’t pop up on the prospect scene until his raw arm strength grabbed the attention of scouts during his junior year, when he was unanimously voted to the All-District First Team. He was then named the All-Houston Area Player of the Year as a senior thanks to his 10-2 record and 2.27 ERA. Marshall lost his final start for the Rangers in the Region III-5A semifinals when he hit a batter to force in the winning run with his pitch count at 146.
Marshall had originally committed to San Jacinto Junior College (Andy Pettitte‘s alma mater), but after seeing his draft prospect status increase exponentially his senior year he switched his commitment to Death to Pitchers University Rice to gain negotiating leverage. The Yanks made Marshall their first pick on Day Two of the 2008 Draft, selecting him 200th overall with their sixth round pick. He is the highest drafted player in Sterling history. Marshall signed for an $850,000 bonus just about a week before the signing deadline, roughly $725,000 over slot.
Marshall was limited to just three starts with the Rookie level GCL Yanks after signing late. He allowed just 2 hits & 2 walks in 6 IP, striking out 8. Not much to see (and if you use those stats to make any kind of judgment on the kid, then … just go away, that’s stupid), although it did give him a taste of professional baseball.
Marshall is a classic Texas fireballer. As is common these days, he throws both a four and two-seam fastball. His velocity fluctuated during his senior year, starting at 86-88 then jumping to 95-97 before settling into 90-92 range at the end of the year, touching 94. Marshall’s two seamer has filthy armside run when he maintains his arm slot, but it typically lags 2-3 mph behind his four-seamer.
Armed with two breaking balls, Marshall’s slider is a legit put-away pitch. Coming in hard in the mid-to-high 80’s, the pitch can be confused for a splitter because of its sharp break. His curve is promising but still rudimentary. Typical of prep pitchers, Marshall rarely used his change-up in high school, leaving quite a bit of development in it’s future.
A converted shortstop, Marshall’s arm has a limited amount of miles on it, but he lacks experience with his delivery that has some effort to it. His command is decent for a high schooler, but the key to his development is his delivery, which Alex Eisenberg already broke down. Once he settles into a more comfortable and repeatable motion, the command will improve and strikes will come with more ease.
Standing just 6’0″ and 190 lbs, Marshall is a bit undersized but is stronger than he appears. Worked to the bone as a senior, Marshall tired at the end of the year and dropped his arm slot. He needs to work on his ability to hold baserunners, but he fields his position well due to his experience as a position player.
You can see his draft video here.
The Yankees haven’t assigned a high school pitcher to a full season league in their first pro season since Phil Hughes & Chris Garcia started 2005 with Low-A Charleston, and it doesn’t appear Marshall will be the one to break that streak. He’ll likely begin ’09 in Extended Spring Training to work on his delivery before joining Short Season Staten Island when their season begins in June.
Give me upside or give me death, and Marshall certainly has considerable upside. He still has some projection left, so he could add a tick or two to his fastball as he finishes maturing. The raw package is basically everything you could ask for from a prep pitcher: two fastballs with life, put-away breaking ball and feel for a change-up. I love the pick, and getting the kid for under a million is just icing on the cake.