The Pinkie’s Cubs' season preview continues today with potential 2009 closer, Carlos Marmol, or as he is known around the Straitpinkie offices, Carlos Marmolos.
Marmolos started in the Cubs' organization as a catcher, but it soon became apparent that he would not hit enough to make an impact.
Minor league instructors noticed his arm strength and suggested a switch to the pitcher’s mound, and today, that move appears to have been brilliant. After literally learning how to pitch, Carlos began his pitching career as a starter.
Marmolos made his first major league start during the disastrous 2006 season against the Cincinnati RedLegs and the potential in him was hard to ignore.
Displaying a mid to upper 90s fastball, a sharp, late breaking slider, along with a change-up, Marmolos went six innings, gave up one run on two hits, while striking out seven. After the game, the RedLegs' batters commented on Marmol’s stuff using words like “electric” and “filthy”. They weren’t kidding.
Despite a strong showing in Cincinnati, the rest of 2006 was highly inconsistent for Marmolos. He struggled with his command and ended up on the disabled list with right bicep stiffness. By the start of the 2007 season, Marmolos the starter was no more, but Marmolos the reliever was just beginning.
The Cubs called up Marmolos from Triple A in May of 2007 and since then, he has become an elite set up man in the big leagues.
Marmolos returned as a two-pitch pitcher. He still had the mid to upper 90s fastball, but displayed more consistent location with it. His slider was still tight and late breaking.
Marmolos finished the 2007 season with a 5-1 record, a 1.43 ERA, struck out 96 batters in only 69.1 innings pitched, and recorded a save.
The 2008 season started with a three-way battle for the Cubs' closer job in Spring Training between Kerry Wood, Marmolos, and Bob Howry. While Marmolos did not pitch poorly, Wood won the job and Marmolos became the set up man. He did not disappoint.
Marmolos finished 2008 with a 2-4 record, a 2.67 ERA, struck out 114 batters in 87 innings, and recorded seven saves. He was rewarded with a trip to the All-Star game when Wood could not play, due to a blister on his pitching hand.
As 2009 begins, the 26 year old Marmolos is once again in a battle for the closer job with the newly acquired Kevin Gregg.
Marmolos is pitching for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, but he is the favorite to win the closer job. If he doesn’t, you can expect him to still be one of the top set up men in baseball.
Rolf’s 2009 prophecy for Marmolos: He will be the closer and finish 5-4, 2.47 ERA, 117 Ks in 89 innings, and 41 saves. MARK IT DOWN!!!!