The Mockingbird

Marcum’s Paintbrush

with 7 comments


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.”


Written by halejon

February 11, 2008 at 7:25 am

Posted in Seriousness

7 Responses

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  1. I have to wonder why a lot of people are disregarding – or at least seem to be counting out – Marcum this season. He was, in my eyes, our best starter in 2007. I know a lot of people will point to Halladay, or McGowan, but Marcum was a complete surprise. We expect the Doc to pitch like that. We expected McGowan to picth like that for years. But Marcum? I don’t remember him ever being touted to be as fantasic as he was. Yes, he tired towards the end of the season (before the injury), but he still posted good numbers. If this team is going to be successful, it may not be because of Halladay, Burnett and McGowan, but because of Marcum and whoever becomes the 5th starter for 2008.

    Go Jays!

    Steven Hawkins

    February 11, 2008 at 7:56 am

  2. I agree that Marcum (and his ability to throw 150+ innings without tiring) will play a huge part in the Jays success next year. But even if he regresses, he’s much better than what we had there last season.

    I think the case against him is he’s never been highly touted, doesn’t have great stuff, and the two months he was amazing last year could have just been the league getting to know him. The handful of brilliant games are a good sign, but it’s hard to really know what to expect from him next season. There’s also his BABIP. His was really low last year so he got lucky and we should expect fewer of his fly balls to find gloves next year.

    Josh Banks was always compared to him on the way up, and Shaun usually got the fuzzy end of the comparison. I think this may be part of the reason for such an obsession for stockpiling guys who throw heat, it’s so hard to figure which finesse guy is going to pull it all together and bloom at the major league level.


    February 11, 2008 at 8:44 am

  3. Marcum’s got some things going for him that make me optimistic that he will continue to enjoy MLB success – he’s had good K numbers in both the majors and minors, and he does a good job limiting the walks. If he can get the HR rate under control, he can afford to give up some more hits (which, as you point out, he likely will). The two-seamer is a great option for him because it will get the ball moving in the right direction to hopefully limit dingers, and of course just having that additional pitch with a different movement and velocity will help his arsenal. And of course you can’t discount the fact that at least part of his low hit rate can probably be credited to his skill with the glove, no?

    In addition, he will hopefully be better conditioned for a starting role this season, since he prepared for last season as a reliever and then abruptly switched to the rotation. He showed interest in Halladay’s conditioning program last season, which is a great thing.


    February 13, 2008 at 2:59 am

  4. Hmm, I forgot about his glove. I think if he has a decent career (stupid criteria) he could win a gold glove someday. Could be part of it (along with the rest of the D), but it’s still reeally low.


    February 13, 2008 at 5:02 am

  5. Well, with Johan gone to the NL and Rogers and Mussina in the twilight of their careers, there’s going to need to be a new perennial gold glove pitcher. Why not Marcum? (Oh yeah, because he plays in Canada.)


    February 13, 2008 at 11:01 pm

  6. Also because the Gold Gloves are pure garbage…it’s probably almost as dependent on Marcum turning into a good (or well known, so playing in Canada he might have to be excellent) pitcher than it is him flashing the leather.


    February 14, 2008 at 12:29 am

  7. […] a 2-seamer that had more sink than tailing action (almost like a splitter?). He hardly hit 90, but (as pointed out a while back) he changes speeds more than most pitchers. He also mixed up all his pitches, throwing all of them […]

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