Gameday will ID Marmol's breaking pitch as a slider or a curveball. I can see why some get that CU diagnosis, but I've suspected it is just one pitch. Well, today we actually get some insight, via Carrie Muskat at MLB.com
"I love my slider," Marmol said, with a smile. "I think it's one of the reasons I'm here, because I can throw my slider any time I want for a strike."
He may call it a slider, but it's more of a slurve.
So, there you have it. Slurve. SL works in any case. And he throws it to everyone.
CH 0.4% 0.4%
FA 48% 47%
SL 49% 51%
You've probably seen how well he works both sides of the plate with it. Here's everything at plate crossing - over 670 pitches included.
Let's look at spin movement before we move on.
I'm calling it a Fastball, without trying to crack the two- vs. four-seam question. The slurve is obvious, and the change is too rare a bird to talk about now.
The fastball is impressive, averaging over 94 MPH at release. Probably a four-seamer, but I need to do more work on arm angle questions before I go with that. I'm leaning that way, since it is typically a pitcher's primary fastball.
The slider is an interesting pitch. Relative to the fastball, it's got 13 inches of spin movement in the other direction. The fastball moves, from spin, about 7 inches in on a righty. The slider over 6 inches the other way. From the hitter's perspective, that's a huge distance. The slider also drops 10 inches relative to the fastball. Come and get it.
Is it deceptive? Release points can help get a bit of an idea.
There's enough park-to-park noise in those last two charts to make it a little difficult. Here are the aggregate views. Keep in mind, these are catcher's perspective, the spin movement (PFX) is in inches, the release points and plate locations are in feet.
Put this all together, and you start to see what a hitter sees. A hard fastball and a wicked slider that come from a pretty low point - not a side-armer, but 3/4 and not a tall guy, leans forward etc... - but the pitches look the same until it's probably too late.