Cubs’ Brailyn Marquez needs to come up to provide a ‘shot in the arm’

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Despite the exciting win against the Brewers last night, the Cubs need a jolt of energy before the postseason.

Brailyn Marquez won’t hit .300, hit bombs, or bail out the listless Chicago Cubs offense. He won’t even get the chance because he doesn’t even use a bat. He can’t undo bad trades and acquisitions, sunk money, and a payroll that has seemingly been handcuffing the front office since 2017.

What he can do is provide some hope, excitement, and a kickstart to a team that sorely needs one in the home stretch of the most bizarre baseball season and year ever. With a god-given left arm capable of throwing white orbs triple digits pretty much every time he touches them, Marquez represents something the Cubs haven’t seen since 2016 in Aroldis Chapman.

He represents something they hadn’t developed in a strictly homegrown fashion since the early 2000s when Mark Prior generated almost unprecedented buzz on the mound at Wrigley.

No one knows if Marquez is ready for the bigs or if the moment will be too big for a 21-year-old guy who has never even pitched in Double-A, let alone the big leagues. Isn’t it time to roll the dice and take that chance, though? The worst-case scenario is he’s not ready, and he goes back to South Bend, right? No one would expect him to come in and dominate, but hey, his stuff is so electric that it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Cubs were able to catch lightning in a bottle just in time for the postseason.

Granted, the bullpen or the beleaguered and banged-up rotation is actually not the problem currently for the Cubs. Still, a September call up of the most exciting Cubs pitching prospect in nearly two decades could serve as a jolt of energy and shot of adrenaline for a team that may have gotten their first injection thanks to Jason Heyward’s bomb last night.

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It also could give the Cubs something they desperately need- a hard-throwing southpaw for David Ross to use as he sees fit. Whether it’s to start a game or work out of the pen, the Cubs are in a position to make this happen with just enough time to see what they have before the postseason.

Marquez, the flame-throwing lefty who tops out over 100 mph, took the baseball prospect world by storm last year as he dominated  A+ Myrtle Beach after being promoted from Class A affiliate South Bend. He started five games, posting a 4-1 record and 1.71 ERA over 26 1/3 innings of work. All told, between the two stops, he recorded a 9-5 record and 3.13 ERA over 103 2/3 innings. He also struck out 128, although 50 walks combined may have made some a bit anxious if they didn’t check out the marked improvement once landing in Myrtle Beach.

Are there concerns about promoting a guy who has never even pitched in Double-A? Sure. I’d be stupid and naive if I said this was a slam dunk of a decision. However, at this point in the year, and with a sputtering, yet the star-studded offense that doesn’t need an addition so much as some sort of spark, it’s a gamble worth taking.

Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer know that Marquez can dominate at some point- let’s rip the training wheels off and see if that point is 2020. With a core group that may be blown up or traded away come the offseason, wouldn’t it be great to hoist a trophy in October and say the juice was worth this squeeze?

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While we’re bringing up Marquez to see what he can do, the Cubs might as well give Justin Steele and Burl Carraway a shot before the playoffs too. With the parade of has-beens and journeymen who have taken the mound for the Cubs in 2020, wouldn’t it at least be more exciting to see some of the prospects get a chance if needed?