Pitcher Shaun Marcum Throws Steady Game for New York Mets
Originally published on Mets On My Mind
Shaun Marcum, a veteran of the Toronto Blue Jays and the Milwaukee Brewers, is the only significant free agent purchase the New York Mets made during the off-season.
He is projected to be a more consistent pitcher than last year’s back-of-the-rotation starter, Chris Young. Still, R.A. Dickey was one of a kind and Marcum cannot be expected to single-handedly replace his production.
Warming up for the season 2013 in spring training, Marcum faced the Miami Marlins live at Tradition Field on March 16. He allowed two runs with one walk and five hits, including a triple and no strikeouts over four innings.
He throws with a low velocity but induces weak ground ball contact. Marcum got leadoff batter Juan Pierre to ground out on two pitches for the first out.
Marcum is effective when he locates his spots with accuracy, but otherwise one poor, slow toss from the veteran pitcher could end up going out of the park. Case in point: Placido Polanco launched an easy double with one out in the first inning.
Marcum is unlikely to strike out many batters at this point in his career, but his changeup is tough to hit for eager, free-swinging hitters. If he loses command, however, he is likely to have trouble against a patient lineup. Thus, the infield must remain vigilant when Marcum is on the mound.
Marcum may have had a successful game, but it was against a Miami team that finished last in the National League East in 2012. A more powerful opposing lineup could easily blast his low-to-mid-80-mph fastball over the fence.
The key to Marcum’s season is staying healthy and eating innings. Otherwise, the Mets will have to rely on Minor League options.