Marcus Caps Summer With MVP Award
In the final round of batting practice on Opening Day at Jamestown's Diethrick Park, David Marcus took five swings. He lined one ball off the left field fence. The other four went over. His production did not waver much throughout the season.
On Thursday, Marcus was named the Prospect League's Most Valuable Player and Top Pro Prospect, as well as the top first baseman in the East Division.
One of five players in League history to appear in all 60 games, Marcus made opposing pitchers nervous each time he stepped to the plate. It took him eight nights to clear the fence during a game. The two-run shot in the bottom of the first inning gave Butler a 2-1 lead over Chillicothe.
He hit his second home run four innings later.
All of this came despite playing in the most pitcher friendly park in the League. Marcus had at least five fly outs to center field that would have flown out of any park other than Kelly Automotive Park with its 425-foot perimeter. By the end of the summer, he had hit seven round trippers at home (tying him with Shayne Houck for the most anyone has hit at the KAP) and 11 overall, setting a new high for the BlueSox and more than doubling anyone else in the League. Seven Prospect League teams in the failed to match Marcus's home run total.
He was also the runner up in the Home Run Derby in Richmond.
And while home runs are flashy, Marcus was in no way one dimensional. He also led the League in doubles, in extra-base hits, in RBIs, and in intentional walks. He went 18-for-35 with runners in scoring position and two outs.
Marcus finished fourth in the League in batting averagealbeit with 76 more at bats than anyone ahead of him did. Only Chillicothe's Deion Tansel had more hits than Marcus, 83 to 81, though Tansel had 14 more plate appearances.
In early July, Marcus had a 15-game hitting streak, the longest in the League this summer and just two shy of the BlueSox' record. At one point during the streak, he did not strike out for eight games in a row. He reached safely in 22 consecutive games, though he was outdone in that category by teammate Matt Hansen who reached safely in 27.
There was clearly a shift in how pitchers approached Marcus mid-way through the season. Having walked seven times in his first 32 games; he drew 17 free passes in his final 28. Despite getting worse pitches to hit, he was able to maintain discipline, keeping his strikeout rate at 11%, which was well under the League average of 17%.
Defensively, Marcus appeared in 49 games at first base. He committed just four errors in 484 attemptsthe second highest fielding percentage among first basemen in the League.
In terms of where Marcus fits into the all-time Prospect League greats, he concludes the season with a Runs Created Plus of 268.3, meaning he produced nearly 2.7 times the runs the average qualified player in the League did. The all-time League leader in the category is Jeff Holm, who played for Chillicothe in 2010. With a similar stat line and 11 home runs as well, Holm also led the League with 38 stolen bases, which was a record that lasted until this summer. Holm's RC+ was 268.5.
When a player reaches the level Marcus did this summer, however, you can throw away the numbers. The fans of Butler will have memories of Marcus at the plate with his unassuming stance and then, next thing you know, the ball in right field. Night in and night out... a few opposing pitchers will probably remember too.