Speaking with media Saturday at PNC Park before his team's 7:05 p.m. Game 2 vs. the Cardinals, Clint Hurdle said Marvel is in line to make his first MLB start Sunday.
"We are going to add James Marvel to our taxi squad today, and our intent is to start him tomorrow," Hurdle said.
Marvel's rise to this spot throughout 2019 is an impressive one. He was drafted by the Twins out of high school before opting to play to Duke, where he battled through a leg injury as a freshmen then an elbow injury that required surgery and consumed the majority of his sophomore year and his entire junior season. In 2015, the Pirates selected him in the 36th round of the draft.
As he continued to rehab, grow and develop, things started to heat up for Marvel this season. The 25-year-old began 2019 in Class AA Altoona, going 9-5 with a 3.10 ERA, before getting the promotion to Class AAA Indianapolis in July. In 11 games with Indy, Marvel was 7-0 with a 2.67 ERA.
“The things that I learned going through that long and extensive rehab process in college made me the player and person I am today,” Marvel told our Matt Welchin July. “I can’t sit here and say I would be the person I am today without that process.”
Count Hurdle among those impressed by Marvel's slow burn to this position.
"He's earned it," Hurdle said. "... If you'll talk to the people that have touched him and seen him perform this year, I think they would all echo the same sentiments: He's focused. He's prepared. He's ready. He's looking forward to add value and he's looking for an opportunity to show the organization that we made a move that was worthy. And that's fun, and those are special moments that I never take for granted."
While the moment is huge for Marvel, Hurdle was quick to note the pressure involved is minimal. This is about getting some experience and tasting life at the MLB level in a low-pressure September for this Pirates club.
"I told him there's no bad ending to this," Hurdle said. "There really isn't. The game goes well, that's great. If it doesn't go well, it's an experience. It's an opportunity that was earned, that you're going to benefit from as you move forward in your career."