2011 TigsTown Player Capsule: Rick Porcello

It was another frustrating year for Rick Porcello, as he improved in a number of key areas on the mound, and yet when it came to actual production, his ERA remained high for the second straight season. Can Porcello turn the corner and become a go-to starter?

Rick Porcello

Five Numbers That Sum Up The Season











What It All Means

For the second straight year, Rick Porcello showed improvement in a number of his peripheral stats, improving his K:BB ratio, getting more ground balls, with everything coming together to give Porcello an xFIP of just over 4, a metric that he has improved on each of the past two years. Despite that though, his ERA remained in the high 4's and was well below average with an ERA+ of 86. Also of concern, his bread-and-butter pitch, his two-seam fastball, came up with a -7.9 on Pitch FX pitch value, a disappointing downward trend given that it had been a positive value pitch for him over the previous two years, and he throws the pitch more than 40% of the time, far more than any other pitch.

What Does the Future Hold

It's a very good question for the 23-year old Porcello, who is still young and could very easily considered improving still, and yet, with three years of big league service under his belt, he's reaching a point where he either needs to make that next step, or likely be relegated as more of a back of the rotation starter. While envisioning him as a number one starter from the get-go probably put unfair expectations on him, the reality is that he still has the potential and ability to be a middle of the rotation starter, and there are peripheral stats indicating he should get there, so long as he does the basic things that we know a pitcher like him needs to do, including keeping his fastball down and being able to mix in his off-speed pitches for strikes. Now, he just needs to actually do it.

Contract Status

Porcello signed a major league contract after being drafted, but after this past season, reached "super two" status, which allowed him to opt out of his deal that was going to guarantee him $1.3 million and file for arbitration. Given free agency is still a ways off, and Porcello hasn't been dominating thus far, there will be little talk of a contract extension. Porcello will likely avoid arbitration for a deal that will pay him around $2 million.

All statistics are provided by Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com, with all contract information thanks to Cot's Contracts.

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