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July 3, 2014

Fantasy Freestyle

Rick Porcello: Buy or Sell?

by Craig Goldstein


Late last season, I took a look into what had changed with Rick Porcello that enabled him to strike out 19 batters over a two-game stretch, the highest two-game total in his career. That two game sample was just an impetus to look at a larger change in Porcello’s profile though—a marked increase in strikeout rate. With another impetus occurring on Tuesday night (Porcello’s 0 K, 0 BB CGSO), I thought it’d behoove us to take a look at Porcello’s season thus far in 2014.

The 2014 season has gone swimmingly for Porcello, as he’s posting an ERA of 3.12, which would be just the second time in his career that he recorded an ERA below 4.00, with the other being his rookie campaign that ended at 3.96. Do the peripherals line up with this improved production, though? The answer, almost overwhelmingly, is no. In fact, he’s reverted to being the pitcher he was in 2009-12, ditching the peripheral improvements he picked up in 2013.

His strikeout rate has dipped to 15 percent, four percentage points off of last year’s pace, and his walk rate hasn’t compensated by declining alongside it. He’s generating ground balls at a significantly lower pace (47.4 percent vs. 52.3 percent career) than ever before, which could play into his dramatically lower BABIP. While he has a career BABIP of .308, Porcello’s 2014 figure is sitting at .266. Part of this could be the additional fly balls, which carry a lower BABIP, but even then you’d expect HR/9 to rise, and it’s done the opposite. There’s also the matter of his skyrocketing infield-fly-ball rate, which has jumped 10 percentage points from last year and rests six percentage points above his career rate. Some pitcher

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitch... (07/03)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Min... (07/02)
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Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: Tra... (07/07)
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Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week... (07/03)

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