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Countdown to Arizona Diamondbacks Opening Day: D-37, Evan Marshall

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Marshall made it back to the majors in 2016, but the numbers were short of his great rookie season.

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

We asked you to rank the 40-man roster along with the 16 non-roster invitees to spring training, and every day between now and the eve of Opening Day, we’ll have a profile of one of those Diamondbacks.

D minus 37: Evan Marshall

  • Date of birth: April 18, 1990
  • Ht/Wt: 6’2”, 225 lbs
  • Position: Pitcher
  • Status: 40-man roster
  • Bats/Throws: R/R
  • 2016 MLB numbers: 8.80 ERA in 15 games, 15.1 IP, 9:8 K:BB
  • SnakePit Rating: 4.17 [pattern of votes below]

It was a great thing that Evan Marshall was actually able to pitch in the major leagues at all last year. He’d had his skull fractured by a line-drive in an August 2015 minor-league game, and it almost killed him. So when he got the call up from Reno two weeks into the season and took the mound against the Padres on April 17, pitching two scoreless innings, it was a storybook moment. But after the first game, someone replaced that storybook with a copy of A Series of Unfortunate Events. For Marshall walked more batters than he struck out the rest of the way, with over half of those he faced ended up getting on base. His Reno numbers weren’t great (4.59 ERA, 28:16 K:BB), and you have to wonder if that night in El Paso is still haunting him somehow.

The projections still think he can be useful - ZIPS, for instance, has Evan pegged at a 4.29 ERA in 2017, with over twice as many strikeouts as walks. But those numbers are cold and unfeeling, without any psychological component. I’ve never had anything remotely close to a near-death experience, so can’t even begin to imagine what that must have been like. I’m sure it rejuvenates your zest for life, and you appreciate every day that comes your way. But when you go back in the same situation once again, I’d expect there to be a corner of your mind that can’t forget the past. Can you retire major league hitters with anything other than total concentration?

This is absolute speculation, I will freely admit, and perhaps there was a mechanical issue behind Marshall’s struggles in the majors. I hope so, because he’s the kind of guy who you want to see succeed, even before his injury.

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