2012 Projection: Will Shaun Marcum Emerge As An Elite Option?

We all knew that Shaun Marcum had the chance to post impressive numbers in 2011 considering what he had accomplished in the AL East the year before (3.64 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 7.60 K/9).  No longer having to navigate through the Red Sox, Yankees and Rays, life in the NL was supposed to bring ace potential.

While he was solid in his first year in Milwaukee, the numbers may not have been quite what some people expected.

13 Wins
200.2 Innings
3.54 ERA
1.16 WHIP
158 Strikeouts (7.09 K/9)
57 Walks (2.56 BB/9)
.261 BABIP

The numbers were virtually on par with what he had done in his final season in Toronto, except his strikeouts actually fell.  That wasn’t supposed to happen, was it?  When someone moves from the AL to the NL you expect the strikeouts to improve, since they no longer have to deal with a designated hitter.

At the same time, prior to missing the 2009 season Marcum had never shown 7.60 K/9 upside in the Major Leagues.  In the two seasons he had thrown over 150 innings he had posted marks of 6.91 and 7.31.  Granted, he did post a 9.03 K/9 over his minor league career, including an 8.67 mark at Triple-A.

He also actually started off strong in 2011, with K/9 of 8.35 and 8.74 in April and May (as well as a 7.76 K/9 in June), before seeing the numbers fall off.  Could he simply of started to tire?  It’s certainly possible and, with back-to-back seasons of over 195 innings now under his belt, you would think his body is better prepared for the long haul.

It’s not impossible to see him post a mark around 8.00 or so, but I would more expect him to be around his 2010 mark.  Would anyone complain about a 7.50 K/9?

Marcum has always had tremendous control, with a career BB/9 of 2.74 and a 1.98 mark in 2010.  In other words, there is no reason to think that he cannot maintain his 2011 success, which immediately puts him in contention for an elite WHIP.  Even if his luck were to regress some in 2012, there is no reason to think that he’s going to post a WHIP above 1.20 pitching in the NL.

His ERA is another number that you would expect to stay relatively static.  Sure, a few more base runners could lead to more runs scored, but you can also argue that he is destined to improve upon a career worst 73.6% strand rate (for his career he is at 76.5%).

Obviously we all would’ve liked to have seen him win more than 13 games last season, especially pitching for the Brewers.  Unfortunately he is a prime example of drafting on wins.  While you would expect him to get more victories, we also can’t call it a given.  I’d go into the season expecting somewhere between 13 and 16, with the potential for him to win even more than that.

You put it all together and get the following projection for 2012:

200.0 IP, 15 W, 3.60 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 167 K (7.52 K/9), 55 BB (2.48 BB/9)

Those numbers would make him a potential low-end SP2, so if you can get him as your third starting pitcher you have put yourself in a very good position.  While his performance in the NL wasn’t light years better than while in the AL, you have to think that the potential is there for him to reach significantly better marks in 2012.

That potential makes him well worth selecting on draft day.

What are your thoughts of Marcum?  How good do you think he could be in 2012?  Is he a player you are going to target?

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Make sure to check out our other 2012 projections:



  1. Milo says:

    I’m thinking Marcum currently loses some value in 2012. Rameriez plus at 3B, But Gamel for Fielder 1b and Braun out 50 games hurts.

  2. jmax says:

    Greg Zaun (Marcum’s former catcher in Toronto) is now a color-commentator here in Canada. While I was watching a playoff game this yr in which Marcum struggled, Zaun pointed out a mechanical flaw in Marcum’s delivery. Zaun said he constantly had to remind Marcum of this flaw. I believe this flaw will be caught and he’ll bounce back in 2012. I could see him reach Roto’s projections even w the loss of Prince and Braun.

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