CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

There will be a very short planned maintenance outage of the site tonight (7/22) at 11 PM ET

<< Previous Article
Premium Article On the Beat: Friday Up... (06/18)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Hot Spot... (06/18)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: A Young ... (06/21)
Next Article >>
The Week in Quotes: Ju... (06/21)

June 20, 2010

Fantasy Beat

Porcello Optioned, Owners Rejoice/Sigh Simultaneously

by Marc Normandin

the archives are now free.

All Baseball Prospectus Premium and Fantasy articles more than a year old are now free as a thank you to the entire Internet for making our work possible.

Not a subscriber? Get exclusive content like this delivered hot to your inbox every weekday. Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get instant access to the best baseball content on the web.

Subscribe for $4.95 per month
Recurring subscription - cancel anytime.


a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Purchase a $39.95 gift subscription
a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

In news that is surprising only if you missed the first three months of the season, Rick Porcello was optioned to Triple-A following Saturday night's ugly start. Porcello allowed four earned runs (five runs overall) and a pair of homers amongst eight hits in 5 1/3 innings against the Diamondbacks. For the month of June, Porcello has just seven strikeouts in 14 innings pitched, which is sadly an improvement on the rates he posted in May.

In late May, I covered Porcello's reliance on his two-seamer and the defense behind him, as he has strikeout stuff that he just doesn't utilize often:

Porcello has strikeout stuff -- he has a four-seamer that tops out at 95 and that he throws at 92-93 consistently -- but he sticks with the slower two-seamer for the sake of movement and to induce groundballs. That's why if you look at his average velocity, you'll see a pitcher that stays around 90 and is reliant on his defense for success, rather than one that is blowing away opponents like you would expect. Until Porcello takes matters into his own hands, and stops pitching with the same kind of strategy as a Jon Garland or a Tim Hudson, he's going to have these ups and downs.

The Tigers defense has improved a bit since that time, but they are still no better than average. Porcello is doing himself a disservice by relying on them so heavily. In last night's start, he threw 22 four-seamers, but generally kept the velocity down on them, averaging just 91.8 mph on it while topping out at 95. That's not much different than his normal two-seamer speed, which may be why he picked up zero swinging strikes on those offerings.

He had better movement on his four-seamer in his previous outing against the White Sox, but threw just 16 four-seamers there, and again, without a swinging strike. He had 11 in his June 3 start, with 55 two-seamers as well, and 27 of them against the Athletics on May 29, with just one swinging strike.

Porcello's four-seamer is a good pitch with movement and plenty of velocity behind it, but it appears, given how he's failed at picking up swinging strikes on it this year, that he's not fooling anyone with it, or blowing it by anyone with any kind of regularity. This trip back to Triple-A may be good for his development, as maybe he can learn how to effectively mix in the four-seamer (or let it become more of a staple in his repertoire than it currently is) so that he can pick up swinging strikes, or get strikeouts when he needs them, rather than relying on his defense and groundballs to do his work for him.

Also of note is that Porcello needs to use his slider more effectively—that four-seamer would be a more productive pitch for the young right-hander if opponents weren't sitting on it, knowing he had little else to throw except for his two fastballs. In the minors, without a race for the division in mind, he'll have the time and leeway to make that happen without costing his team in the standings.

There is no word yet on who is replacing him, though a little digging brings one name to the forefront. Enrique Gonzalez, who pitched in relief of Porcello for 3 2/3 innings last night, is an option, as he was a starter at Toledo prior to being recalled by the Tigers. According to his PECOTA projections, which look iffy even at the 90th percentile level, that may not be the best move, and is more along the lines of slapping a band aid on the open gash left by Porcello's demotion.

The Tigers won't need a fifth starter for 10 days though, so it's not surprising they haven't made an announcement about his replacement as of yet. We'll make an update when we hear about who is taking his slot in the rotation, but for now, sit tight.

Related Content:  Rick Porcello

4 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article On the Beat: Friday Up... (06/18)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Hot Spot... (06/18)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: A Young ... (06/21)
Next Article >>
The Week in Quotes: Ju... (06/21)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Daily League Strategy: Two Servings of Fland...
Fantasy Article My Model Portfolio: Three-and-a-Half Months ...
Notes About Baseball, 7/22
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Boston Gives 'Em A Li...
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Monday, July 2...
Premium Article Moonshot: Accounting for Count
Premium Article Prospects Will Break Your Heart: What Did I ...


MORE BY MARC NORMANDIN
2010-06-26 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Saturday Schmorgasboard
2010-06-24 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Carlos Beltran Quandary
2010-06-22 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Andy Oliver To Replace Porcell...
2010-06-20 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Porcello Optioned, Owners Rejo...
2010-06-17 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Carmona Considerations
2010-06-16 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Bucs Call Up Alvarez
2010-06-10 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Papelbon's Early Struggles
More...

MORE FANTASY BEAT
2010-06-21 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Hot Spots: First Base, Third B...
2010-06-21 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Scoresheet: Draft Prep 1
2010-06-21 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: A Young Breakout
2010-06-20 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Porcello Optioned, Owners Rejo...
2010-06-18 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Hot Spots: Starting Pitchers
2010-06-18 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Weekly Planner #12
2010-06-17 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Hot Spots: Relief Pitchers
More...

INCOMING ARTICLE LINKS
2010-06-26 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Saturday Schmorgasboard
2010-06-22 - Fantasy Article Fantasy Beat: Andy Oliver To Replace Porcell...