Harry Pavlidis On Carlos Marmol

The finest Pitch F/x man to bleed cubbie blue, Harry Pavlidis, took a look today at Carlos Marmol's fastball and slider. The news was not good:
While his fastball velocity has dropped, his slider has picked up speed and is back to as-fast-as-ever. One key for Marmol is having separation between his two pitches. Speed is just one aspect, movement is another.

PITCHf/x gives us both vertical spin deflection (or movement, when gravity is added back in as shown below) and lateral spin deflection (or movement). Guess what? Convergence.
As the chart (above) shows, the speed difference and the movement difference have both narrowed since 2007. The results have been declining statistics.

Sure, this could be a blip on the radar of Marmol's career, but the tough thing is, with relievers, we have no idea what will happen next.

Put it all together and you end up with a pitcher with a quality whiff rate (.31) which may not be as amazing as 2010 but still very good. Even his ground ball rate ends up being a wash, but there are has been a doubling in home runs per FB+LD and a halving of pop-ups per ball in play.

Take away those automatic outs in the infield, combined with a return from otherworldly whiff rates, and Marmol has fallen off the elite closer stack. Regain the separation, stop getting squared-up? I hope we get to find out sooner than later.

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