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Entries in Shaun Marcum (5)


A Brew Cut

Milwaukee Brewers starter Shaun Marcum is holding opposing batters to a .218 wOBA on his cutter, fourth lowest among all pitchers that have thrown the pitch at least 150 times in 2011.  Marcum is throwing it at about the same rate as he did last year, but with much better results. 

In 2010, Marcum threw 466 cutters and batters hit .244 with a .407 slugging percentage off them.  Overall, they put up a .293 wOBA against Marcum’s cutter last season.  This season, however, Marcum has already thrown 587 cutters and batters are hitting just .173 against them with a miniscule .228 SLG. 

One of the biggest reasons for the improvement has been a reduction in home runs coming off the pitch.  Last season, Marcum had an 8.2% HR/FB rate on his cutter; this season it is down to just 1.8%, as he’s yielded just one cutter induced HR in 177 plate appearances decided on the pitch.


Brewers' Shaun Marcum On Radar

Brewers starting pitcher Shaun Marcum will admit that he likes pitching under the radar, being the other guy to prominent pitchers like Zach Greinke.  Now with the Brewers losing Greinke to a rib injury for the first 2-4 weeks of the season, the spotlight will be on Marcum right out of the gate.

Along with a very good cutter, Marcum features an outstanding changeup.  Opposing batters whiffed on the pitch 44.7% of the time last season, putting him in the top 3% of the league (min. 200 changeups thrown), among company like Cole Hamels, Clay Buchholz, and Tim Lincecum. 

As expected, Marcum keeps the change low, and batters were simply unable to get the bat on it.

Shaun Marcum's Changeup, 2010

(click to enlarge)

Batters put up a .172/.197/.233 line versus his change in 2010, and a .188/.256/.298 expected line, which places a value on all changeups thrown in a plate appearance.  As the graphic above shows, Marcum's change stayed down and in to righties and down and away to lefties.  However, batters could not get good wood on the pitch, with most of the damage done on the rare change hung up in the zone.

To have a successful changeup, you need to have a decent enough fastball.  Marcum's one major issue last season came on his fastball versus right-handed batters. 

Shaun Marcum's Fastball, 2010

(click to enlarge)

Lefties hit .202/.260/.331 while righties hit .369/.422/.708.  A .207/.355 BABIP split might suggest he was a bit unlucky throwing the  fastball to RHB.  However, line drives fell in for hits 89.3% of the time while his HR/FB rate ballooned to 24%.  Usually this is a sign that batters are squaring up the pitch well, rather than a product of luck.  He'll need to find a way to make his fastball work against RHB this season in order to continue to be successful with that changeup.

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