Sunday, April 21, 2013

Why Shaun Marcum Is Valuable To The Mets

Photo by Associated Press

Before I start, let me say that it would be foolish of me to think that the Mets' chances of remaining competitive - or at the very least, at or above .500 - rest on the oft-injured arm of right-handed starter Shaun Marcum.  If the Mets do well this season, it will more than likely be because the offense did better than expected or because Matt Harvey continued to pitch like a Cy Young candidate.

But Shaun Marcum might still have some value, even if he doesn't make every start between Saturday and the end of the season.  Here's why.

Shaun Marcum has always fared well against NL East teams.  Marcum has made 11 starts against the Braves, Marlins, Phillies and Nationals.  He has performed against his new division rivals as follows:

  • vs. ATL: 1-1, 2.25 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, 20 IP, 18 K, 5 BB, .183 batting average against
  • vs. MIA: 0-0, 6.35 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 5.2 IP, 3 K, 1 BB, .304 batting average against
  • vs. PHI: 2-1, 3.51 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 25.2 IP, 22 K, 7 BB, .248 batting average against
  • vs. WAS: 1-0, 2.77 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 13 IP, 14 K, 3 BB, .156 batting average against
  • Total: 4-2, 3.22 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, 64.1 IP, 57 K, 16 BB, .217 batting average against

Not bad for 11 career starts against the teams he will face the most, right?  And if you take out his one bad start against the Marlins, Marcum has a 2.91 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and has held the opposition to a .207 batting average.

Shaun Marcum is in line to make his Mets debut against the Phillies - an NL East team - at Citi Field on Saturday.  Assuming he's fully recovered from his neck and bicep injuries, he will be counted on to provide for the Mets where stopgap Aaron Laffey could not.

Anyone can be better than Aaron Laffey was.  But not many pitchers are as good as Shaun Marcum has been against the NL East.  Marcum might not make every scheduled start for the Mets, but as long as the starts he makes are against the team's division rivals, the Mets might be able to get more out of Marcum than they expected.

It might be foolish to think the Mets' success in 2013 rides on the arm of Shaun Marcum, but it would also be foolish to think he can't do well against the teams he's always done well against.  Let's hope Marcum can stay healthy for as long as possible, especially if his next scheduled start is against an NL East rival.

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