The Twins will send out Jason Marquis for his first start of 2012 tonight against the Yankees. Marquis grew up a Yankee fan in Staten Island, and has always indicated his desire to pitch in New York. In 2011, Marquis pitched 120.2 innings for the Nationals, before being traded to the Diamondbacks. In his time in Washington, he pitched to a 3.95 ERA, 3.78 FIP, 5.30 K/9, and 2.91 BB/9. He only pitched 11.1 innings with the Diamondbacks, or 3 starts, before a bizarre broken leg injury pitching against the Mets.
The right hander’s arsenal of pitches include fastball, slider, and changeup. His primary fastball is the sinker, which he throws 47.5% of the time, but he also throws a four-seam fastball 6.4% of the time. Both fastballs come in around 89 mph. His 85 mph slider is his second most used pitch, and he throws it around 31.9% of the time. He also has the changeup to mimic the sinker, which he throws 14.1% of the time and at around 82 mph.
Here we have Marquis’ release point, which falls around 2 to 3 feet to the left of the mound, and around 6 feet height-wise. Marquis does a nice job of maintaining his release point. Although most of his two-seamers may be released closest to the mound, its a very marginal difference between other points. With such a neat release zone, I don’t see any tips by the arm angle.
These two graphics show the trajectory of different pitch types from the release point on the right to homeplate on the left. In the top graphic, we see the horizontal break based on a bird’s eye view. For Marquis, his changeup and sinker obviously have the most movement in to same side hitters, with his four-seamer in a close second. The difference between the breaks of these 3 pitches and his slider is remarkable. While big movement isn’t entirely indicative of it’s success in baseball, one can marvel at the physics of the pitch. In the second graph you can see a side shot of the vertical break from a 3rd or 1st base view. When compared to the four-seam fastball, the downward break of the sinker becomes more clear.
Here we have the pitch movements plotted on a graph with the origin being a no-spin pitch. The majority of his pitches have wide areas of vertical break, with his sinker having more than a 10 inch difference between its highest and lowest point. The sinker also has the most movement in to the right handed batter as was seen above. The changeup sits next to the sinker, and does a decent job of matching up the horizontal break, -8.95 inches for the sinker and -6.64 inches for the changeup. The slider has the least break in to right handed hitters at -0.05, the vertical break is also the least at an average 3.04 inches. Of the few times he threw the four-seam fastball, he threw the pitch well above the average sinker, but also properly without as much horizontal break.
The spin angle of each pitch and velocity are listed here. From this we can see how he threw the changeup and sinker at the same angle, thus getting similar horizontal break. The two-seamer was at a very standard 240 degrees, which is of course very similar to 239 degrees from the changeup. The four-seam fastball was also inside the standard 200-220 range at 217.
Where He Threw It
Here we have Marquis’ pitch locations for right handed hitters. You can see how he threw his fastballs, his sinker and four-seamer most often inside to right handed hitters. Of the few changeups he threw, they were located down and in. Sliders were mostly down in the zone as well, but also often thrown away. This is a very typical approach for fastball-slider pitchers. In this instance he uses his sinker most at 47.2%, than the slider at 42.8%, four-seamer 6.1%, and the changeup least at 3.8%.
Marquis takes the opposite approach against lefties. His sinker is thrown mostly away and often down in the zone. He also throws his changeup more often down and away. Most of his sliders are thrown down in the zone, but he’s also not afraid to go in with it, perhaps the only pitch you can expect in. He throws the sinker most at 47.9% of the time, 25.3% for the changeup, 20.1% for the slider, and 6.8% for the four-seamer.
When He Throws It
|Count||Sinker (R)||Slider (R)||Changeup (R)||Four-seamer (R)|
Against righties, Marquis will usually start an at bat with a sinker 58.2% of the time, but he’ll also mix in the slider at 34.3% of the time. As he falls behind in the count, he becomes more reliant on the sinker, but keeps the slider mixed in more than most pitchers. After strike 1, he will increase the likelihood of the slider to over 40% and mix in the changeup less than 10% of the time. With 2 strikes you can expect a slider around 60% of the time, which is his best swing and miss pitch at a 13.2% whiff rate. Although he throws his changeup only 3.8% of the time to righties, he also gets a 12.2% swing and miss rate, and a low 19.5% in play rate.
|Count||Sinker (L)||Slider (L)||Changeup (L)||Four-seamer (L)|
Against lefties, Marquis starts the count off with a sinker even more often at 63.2%, and will mix his slider and changeup in equally. As he falls behind in the count he can become almost entirely reliant on his two-seamer. After strike 1, he’ll mix his sinker, slider, changeup around 30% of the time each. With a 1-2 or 2-2 counts, his favorite pitch is the changeup, which he can throw above 50% of the time. 0-2 he’ll mix the slider in a bit more, but on 3-2 he’ll throw his two-seamer slightly more, most likely to avoid ball 4. Marquis struggles to get swings and misses against lefties, his best two pitches are his changeup at a 9.3% whiff rate the slider at a 7.6% rate.
As a sinker baller with a career 5.23 K/9 rate, Marquis is undoubtedly a groundball pitcher. Last year he had an outstanding 55.1% groundball rate, a 24.8% flyball rate, and a 20.1% line drive rate. Over his career he has virtually no home/away or platoon splits, but in 2011 he struggled against lefties. With the whiff rates and his linear approach down and away approach against lefties, there is no wonder they hit him for a .306/.376/.840 triple slash. The righty does a good job of preventing walks though, and 2.93 BB/9 in 2011 was well earned.
Against The Yankees
While he had a brief relief outing against the team in 2001, his only start came in 2005. He went 8.0 innings, 6 hits, 1 run, 2 walks, and 3 strike outs. The team has very few numbers against the pitcher, and of the stats that exist, most are from 7 years ago. Raul Ibanez has the most significant set, and he destroys Marquis, OPSing 1.118.
|Probable Yankee Lineup||At Bats||Triple Slash|
|Derek Jeter SS||5||.200/.200/.400|
|Curtis Granderson CF||4||.000/.000/.000|
|Alex Rodriguez 3B||5||.200/.429/.200|
|Robinson Cano 2B||3||.667/.667/1.000|
|Mark Teixeira 1B||0||.000/.000/.000|
|Nick Swisher RF||3||.333/.333/.333|
|Raul Ibanez DH||22||.364/.391/.727|
|Russell Martin C||16||.188/.235/.250|
|Brett Gardner LF||0||.000/.000/.000|
A groundball pitcher always has the chance of getting double plays or hard hit balls caught, but the lineup is littered with tough lefty bats. Marquis basically has three-pitches, one of which (sinker) is worth anything. Unfortunately for him and the Twins, his predictable approach versus lefties should get him in trouble even on a good night, but this will be Marquis’ first start of the year, coming back from time off, and technically his first official start since his injury. The odds are against him and the spread should be wide, but we’ll see what he can do with those groundballs against the Yankees.
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