mweir145 wrote:Personally, I don't think there is much of a difference long term between Litsch and Marcum.
I think you sell Marcum short. His change-up is borderline elite, and that makes him a good candidate to be a very, very good and consistent major league pitcher. You don't have to be a hard thrower to be successful (the list of examples is endless) and Marcum, even at a young age has shown the ability to locate and mix his pitches very well. He's also a great athlete and a tremendous competitor. I think he has a lot in common with James Shields, and I think both guys will be excellent pitchers for years to come.
On to Litsch...I was at the game today and one couldn't help but be impressed with him. He had a nice little breakout last year when called on in a pinch, but he looked like a gocky kid, and his stuff wasn't the kind you drool over. If Casey Janssen hadn't been injured in ST, Litsch would be twirling these gems for the AAA Syracuse Chiefs.
As it is, he's up with the big team and really contributing. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more productive fifth starter anywhere in baseball. What blew me away today was how efficient he was. I believe he had thrown 81 pitches through 8 innings--that's unreal. He doesn't have the stuff of a Halladay, McGowan, or Burnett, but he sure seems to know it and--to use a worn-out baseball catch phrase--plays within himself. He plays to contact and lets his defense make plays behind him. He works quickly and seems to have a lot of poise and confidence for a guy his age and with his limited experience and marginal "stuff." The success of the entire Jays pitching staff leads me to believe that the catchers and pitching coach are really on the ball. It also looks like Litsch is learning a lot from Halladay, as his newfound focus on control and pitch efficiency is certainly reminiscent of Doc's approach. The lack of walks--he broke Jimmy Key's team record today for most consecutive innings without allowing one--is obviously very impressive.
I think today will be the high-point of Jesse Litsch's season, and I'm sure he'll take his lumps along the way. But watching him today, he just looked to be in total command, a much more mature pitcher than the one we saw last season. I've gotta believe that the Jays would be thrilled if he could post a 4.00 ERA and 1.25 WHIP--but the way he's looked through April and most of May, I think those numbers are well within his abilities this year.