In addition to a plus changeup, one of the things that has won a few talent evaluators over from constantly referring to Shaun Marcum as a generic fifth starter is that he uses five pitches and uses a “wide palette”, throwing them at speeds that vary more than the average pitcher.
Well, add to that him working on a two-seam fastball this season, which is a great addition for a not-overpowering pitcher like himself. As I mentioned last week, Marcum was the Jays’ only flyball pitcher in 2007 and it cost him in the Homerdome, as he gave up 21 HR in 76 innings and posted a 5.66 ERA (while the rest of the Jays’ staff thrived in the dome). The two-seamer is really just another name for a sinker, so it induces ground balls and keeps the ball in the park.
In the Sun article, he refers to using it as a “show me” pitch last year, but if you look at the movement on his pitches, there were only a half-dozen pitches you might call a 2-seamer (they sink and tail more more than the red cluster of 4-seamers). Anyway…isn’t it nice to hear a young, overachieving, pitcher talking about continuing to improve his craft and learning from the master like so?:
“Now I’m starting to get this pitch down and this off-season I’m throwing it a lot. So it not only will help my changeup, but getting that pitch down will help me as well. If I pitch off that and with my cut fastball (which moves into a left-handed hitter), not take the same thing as Doc does but try to make things similar to what he does. I mean he’s had so much success, you can’t go wrong following his steps.”
As opposed to this quote from last season from a certain underachieving Blue Jays fireballer:
“There’s time I pitch to contact, but I’m trying to strike everybody out. I’m not going to lie.”