One of the highest compliments you hear of a control pitcher is his ability to "throw any pitch in any count." Said frequently of Shaun Marcum, it makes these masters of deception especially tough to hit. Think you'll sit fastball when you're ahead 2-1? Think again, clown.
That sounds like something we've all said. Doesn't mean it is the case. Following along the great work on the topic done by Royals Review and Baseball Analysts; I put my (newfound) pivot table proficiency to work and created these graphs, which track pitch usage by count. Ricky Romero and Shaun Marcum, at your service.
If you get ahead of Ricky Romero, you can put the curveball out of your mind, that much is clear. As always with Pitch F/X, you can argue or debate the pitch classifications but this makes a lot of sense. Interesting that Romero goes to his devastating change up more in 1-2 counts than 0-2 though the curveball rates stay about the same. What about Marcum?
I think Shaun Marcum's full count pitch selection is my favorite thing of today. What are you gonna get? NO CLUE! Shaun Marcum won't necessarily throw any pitch in any count, but he'll certainly keep you on your toes with the pay-off pitch.
As an added bonus, I took Shaun Marcum's numbers and split them by batter handedness. Behold the glory of The Danks Theory! (Click to enlarge.)
If you are a left-handed hitter, Shaun Marcum will throw you a change-up. This is something I now hold to be true. If you're a left-handed hitter facing Shaun Marcum with a full count, he's going to throw you a change up. Good luck convincing your brain of that as you stand in the batter's box.
It is that very indecision that makes Shaun Marcum effective. So effective that he might
Image courtesy of Boing Boing, Pitch F/X data courtesy of the wondrous Joe Lefkotwtiz.