Markus Solbach

From BR Bullpen

Markus Solbach

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 5", Weight 195 lb.

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Markus Solbach has pitched in the USA, Germany and Australia.

Solbach debuted in the Bundesliga-1 in 2009 with the Pulheim Gophers, going 0-5 with a .363 opponent average and 7.17 ERA. He won his only game for Germany in the 2009 European Junior Championship. Markus improved to 5-8, 3.78 in 2010. He was 11th in the northern division in ERA (between two Canadian imports), tied for 9th in wins, was 10th with 58 strikeouts, tied for the most losses, was 7th in innings (100), tied for second in wild pitches (14), tied for third in hit batsmen (10) and was 10th in opponent OPS (650).

Solbach was timed at 90 mph when the Minnesota Twins signed him in February 2011. He was the 4th German they had signed in a decade, with Tim Henkenjohann, Rodney Gessmann and Max Kepler-Rozycki preceding him. The scout was Howard Norsetter. He made his pro debut that summer with the GCL Twins, going 3-3 with a 1.91 ERA in 15 relief outings. He made his German national team debut in the 2011 Baseball World Cup, relieving André Hughes with a 2-2 tie, two on and one out in the 6th against South Korea. He allowed a two-run double to Hae-min Park while fanning three in 1 2/3 IP; he gave up one other hit and a walk but was not charged with a run. Germany rallied and he was relieved by Dominik Hartinger with a 4-4 tie; Germany lost in extra innings. In his other game, he relieved Philipp Hoffschild during a rout by Venezuela and allowed six hits and three runs (one earned) in 2 2/3 IP while striking out four; Jens Cornelsen relieved him. He pitched briefly with the Melbourne Aces in the 2011-2012 Australian Baseball League (4 R in 5 2/3 IP).

He was 2-1 with a 5.82 ERA for the 2012 GCL Twins, walking only one in 17 innings but allowing 27 hits. He allowed two hits, two walks and two runs in 2 1/3 IP in the 2012 European Championship. He gave up five hits, a walk and five runs (four earned) in one inning in the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, serving up a grand slam to Canada's Rene Tosoni. His 36.00 ERA was the highest on Germany; Hughes was next at 27.00.

In 2013, he was 1-1 with a 0.96 ERA in five games for the GCL Twins. Let go by Minnesota, he signed with the independent Windy City Thunderbolts and was 5-1 with a 3.27 ERA the remainder of the year. He opened a busy 2014 with Windy City (1-1, 0.86, 9 H in 21 IP). That impressed the Arizona Diamondbacks enough to sign him. He pitched for three of their farm clubs that summer - the Missoula Osprey (2-2, 5.33 in 6 G), Hillsboro Hops (2-1, 2.57 in 4 G) and South Bend Silver Hawks (2-3, 3.96 in 6 G). He then donned his fifth uniform of the year, representing Germany in the 2014 European Championship. He was 0-1 with a 5.62 ERA, saving a win over the Czech national team and losing to Italy. He then played for a 6th team in 2014, the Sydney Blue Sox of the 2014-2015 Australian Baseball League. He was 6-3 with a save and a 4.81 ERA, tying Tim Atherton for 4th in the loop in wins.

In 2015, he was 9-4 with a 2.88 ERA for the Kane County Cougars and 2-2 with a 5.59 ERA for the Visalia Rawhide. He tied Gabriel Arias, Ethan Elias and Jared Miller for 4th in the Diamondbacks chain in wins and was 9th in the Midwest League in ERA (between Wyatt Strahan and Tejay Antone). He did a fine job against Nicaragua in the 2016 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, allowing two runs in six innings and turning over a 3-2 lead to Luke Sommer, with Germany poised for an upset; they wound up losing in extra innings.

Let go by Arizona, he signed with the independent Rockland Boulders. He posted a 6-2, 2.43 record with only 12 walks in 74 innings. Had he qualified, he would have been 5th in the Canadian-American Association in ERA. He was re-signed by the Diamondbacks and was 5-2 with a 3.56 ERA for Visalia. He was on the German roster for the 2016 European Championship but did not get to play for them as Visalia's postseason extended until the last day of the Euros (Germany was counting on his presence for the end of the Euros if Visalia's playoff run ended earlier); he got the start in the playoff finale against the High Desert Mavericks and had a no-decision in a 7-4 loss as the bullpen struggled.

He had a 11-4, 3.60 record for Rockland in 2017, walking 20 in 122 2/3 IP. He was 7th in ERA (between Justin Topa and Joseph Maher) and tied Lázaro Blanco for 3rd in wins. Returning to Germany after years in the US, he signed with the Bonn Capitals for 2018. In his lone start in the 2018 CEB Cup, he beat the host Arrows Ostrava (2 R, 1 BB, 6 H, 10 K in 8 IP). He finished 4th in ERA, between Romulo Sánchez and Robert Palencia. He was 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA for Germany in the 2018 Haarlem Baseball Week, losing to Italy. He got hit hard by Spain in the 2018 Super6 (14 H, 2 BB, 9 R, 8 ER, 6 K in 6 2/3 IP) to take the loss. He had the highest ERA of any qualifier in the event, .98 ahead of Enorbel Marquez. He also tied for 7th in strikeouts.

For the 2018 Bundesliga, he was superb for Bonn (6-0, Sv, 0.38 ERA, .58 WHIP, 18 H, 10 BB, 64 K in 48 IP). He easily won the ERA title (.58 ahead of Riley Barr), was 9th in strikeouts, tied for 3rd in wins, was second to Sascha Koch in K:BB ratio, led in WHIP (.07 ahead of Koch) and allowed the lowest OPS (299, 84 ahead of Koch). His superb work continued into the 2018-2019 Australian Baseball League with the Adelaide Giants, his 3rd different ABL team. He was 5-3 with a 1.10 ERA, 13 BB and 41 hits in 65 1/3 IP while striking out 74. He was second in ERA (.59 behind Shota Imanaga), tied for 4th in wins, led in IP (3 1/3 ahead of Steven Kent), was second in WHIP (.40 behind Imanaga) and was 3rd in strikeouts (behind fellow European Alessandro Maestri and Kent). He was named the All-Star starting pitcher and tied Tim Kennelly for MVP, the first pitcher to be named ABL MVP since Adrian Meagher in 1991-1992 (Wayne Lundgren had won in 2009-2010 during the Claxton Shield era). It was also the first time the MVP award had been split between two players.

As it turned out, Solbach's great season caught the eye of MLB scouts, as Solbach ended up signing a deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers on January 3rd, 2019. Solbach started the 2019 season with the AZL Dodgers on a rehab assignment, then made his system debut with Double-A Tulsa on July 29th, throwing 1 1/3 spotless innings with three strikeouts versus the Midland RockHounds. In his first start on August 2nd against Northwest Arkansas he scattered four hits over seven scoreless innings to earn the win. Overall on the season, he'd post a 2.57 ERA with the Drillers while working to a 5-1 record. Outside of one disastrous outing against Amarillo however, his ERA was a minuscule 0.68 over seven outings and 39 2/3 innings of work. He was slated to play for Germany in the 2019 European Championship but missed out due to the postseason in the minors.

Solbach was supposed to pitch for Germany in the 2020 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers but those were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the first events cancelled by the pandemic. He appeared slated to start 2020 with the Oklahoma City Dodgers, but with the cancellation of the 2020 Minor League Season he was forced to find playing time elsewhere. Solbach ended up playing for ASD San Marino of the Italian Serie A1, and ended up being the best pitcher in an overall stellar pitching staff. Among pitchers with beyond six innings of work, Solbach's 0.23 ERA was 0.59 better then any other pitcher's (teammate Maestri's 0.82 mark came closest) His 53 strikeouts were also the best mark by a pitcher who threw less then 40 innings of work (he needed a mere 30 1/3 to accomplish the feat). His .142 opponent average was 3rd (after Dimitri Kourtis and Maestri). He fanned 13 in 5 2/3 shutout innings in the opening win in the 2020 Italian Series against Bologna but injured his shoulder one inning into his next start and would miss the remainder of the Series as Bologna rallied to top San Marino.


Further Reading[edit]

  • Michael Clair: "Kepler, Solbach tout baseball in Germany: Pair hopes big league dreams can flourish in home country",, November 25, 2021. [1]

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