What's wrong with Carlos Marmol?

Between 2007 and 2011, Carlos Marmol threw 382.1 innings and allowed a ridiculously low 218 hits. He allowed only 21 home runs and struckout 540 batters. That's the good Marmol.

During those same years Marmol threw 23 wild pitches, hit 39 batters and walked 241 of them.

Despite a high walk rate, he still managed to have a higher than 2 to 1 K/BB ratio. He was very difficult to hit and when he did get hit he didn't give up many home runs. We've talked about how the home runs would regress as well as the BABIP. Both did, but he was still a good reliever.

Marmol has particularly struggled against right handed batters. It needs to be pointed out that overall Marmol has faced just 60 batters so that in itself is a very small sample. Looking at splits makes the samples even more useless. Righties have a .387 wOBA against Marmol this year as opposed to a .287 career wOBA. Lefties have a .352 wOBA and a career .294.

The reason righties have hit so well is because they have 1 home run and 1 double while lefties have 2 doubles, but no home runs. Marmol has been walking the world this year so both handed batters have OBP's over .400 against Marmol so far.

I had actually begun to look a little deeper into Marmol's struggles so I'm going to post the pitch f/x data with only a couple of comments.

Year Pitch Count Frequency H. Mvt V. Mvt Mph H. Rel V. Rel Spin Θ RPM
2010 4-seamer 603 42% -7.48 -13.52 94.85 -2.23 5.27 216 1,976
2012 4-seamer 126 45% -7.29 -17.29 93.59 -1.9 5.42 223 1,600
2007-2012 4-seamer 3033 44% -8.18 -13.87 94.24 -2.21 5.28 219 2,017
Year Pitch Ball Call Str. Swings Fouls Whiffs BIP GB LD FB PU HR
2010 4-seamer 39.80% 25.21% 33.50% 13.76% 10.28% 9.95% 1.82% 1.66% 4.81% 1.66% 0.33%
2012 4-seamer 46.03% 21.43% 32.54% 16.67% 4.76% 11.11% 3.97% 1.59% 3.97%   0.00%
2007-2012 4-seamer 40.65% 20.87% 37.09% 17.67% 8.97% 10.91% 2.64% 1.55% 4.81% 1.91% 0.59%
Year Pitch Count Frequency H. Mvt V. Mvt Mph H. Rel V. Rel Spin Θ RPM
2010 Slider 841 58% 7.77 -35.63 84.38 -2.3 5.43 66 912
2012 Slider 135 49% 5.96 -37.55 83.78 -2.01 5.41 49 847
2007-2012 Slider 3921 56% 7.97 -35.81 83.46 -2.29 5.43 70 898
Year Pitch Ball Call Str. Swings Fouls Whiffs BIP GB LD FB PU HR
2010 Slider 36.03% 22.47% 40.55% 12.72% 19.02% 8.92% 4.16% 1.78% 2.14%   0.00%
2012 Slider 45.19% 20.00% 34.81% 12.59% 10.37% 11.85% 4.44% 1.48% 2.96% 2.96% 0.74%
2007-2012 Slider 36.85% 23.72% 38.64% 12.60% 14.54% 11.53% 5.13% 1.94% 3.24% 1.22% 0.18%

I included 2010 because it was Marmol's best season. The swing and whiff rates are both down. The other noticeable difference is the percentage of pitches that are balls. We already knew that based on his 12+ BB/9 rate. There may also be something in the other numbers, but I'm not qualified to comment on most of them.

Marmol has never had good control, but his control is so bad this year that he just can't succeed. My guess is that this is just a horrible start and when Marmol returns we'll see the same Marmol we've gotten used to. A pitcher who has been overrated becasue of his strikeouts, but is a lot of fun to watch when he's on.

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