Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Think Along with Your Favorite Hurler

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 fetch a tidy haul in trade anchor this pitching staff again? I'm not quite sure.

Image courtesy of Boing Boing, Pitch F/X data courtesy of the wondrous Joe Lefkotwtiz.


  1. I saw these types of graphs on BtB. Very cool

  2. Shaun Marcum pitches like a man.

  3. Wow, Shaun Marcum is the proverbial box of chocolates. I think I love him even more now (trade value!)

  4. Interesting stuff, no doubt...really puts the lie to all that "pitching backwards" stuff...up 2-0 or 3-0, you're still getting some kind of fastball upwards of 90% of the time against either of these guys.

    I gotta say, on a totally unrelated note...what's with the site layout? It's getting a little heavy on the banners recently...I don't mind them in particular, but it's making the site buggier and slower to load than it used to. (Might be an influx of pageviews, I suppose.)

  5. Somebody show this to Ricky, Molina and Arencibia quick before the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays get it.

  6. apparently the brewers read your blog.. Lawrie is a stud, the power will come. It might not show this year because he'll be really young for AAA (see REALLY REALLY young) but the pop is definitly there. I played with him at 16 and it was his power that impressed people then and from the looks of his xbase hits it hasn't gone anywhere


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