Porcello’s Career in Boston so Far
Rick Porcello has experienced his fair share of highs and lows since arriving in Boston. The Red Sox acquired him in the winter of 2014 from the Tigers in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. In his first season following the trade, Porcello had fifteen loses and ERA of almost five. His second year in Boston was the complete opposite, as he won twenty-two games and the AL Cy Young award. Last year he struggled again and was unable to repeat his Cy Young performance. He lost a career high seventeen games and again had an ERA above four. This season will be his fourth year in Boston, and it should be an interesting one.
Unlike Sale and Price, Porcello is not a strikeout machine. He is a sinkerball pitcher who pitches to contact. Last year he allowed a career high thirty-eight home runs and a career high two hundred and thirty-six hits. This was a result of a couple of factors. Last year his signature sinkerball pitch didn’t have the same effect. He pitched more up in strike zone making his pitches easier to hit. He does not throw the ball very hard which means he can’t just blow people away. What makes Porcello effective is when he’s able to stay out of the upper part of the strike zone. This makes it harder for hitters to barrel up the ball and induces ground balls.
2018 Expectations for Porcello
Porcello is not as bad of a pitcher as he showed last year. He also is not a perennial Cy Young award candidate. With Price, Sale, and Pomeranz atop of the Red Sox rotation they don’t need him to be. In 2018 he will likely be the fourth starter, which could work out very well. When the former Tiger first came to Boston he was expected to be the ace. That didn’t workout and he had his breakout season in 2016 when the Sox signed David Price to be their ace. Porcello may not win twenty-two games a year, but he Is capable of pitching too a sub 4.00 ERA. He does not have the stuff to be an ace but does have the stuff be a consistent and at times an above average pitcher.
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Why Porcello Is Key
If he can regain his signature sinkerball pitch then the Sox could have the best fourth starter in baseball. There won’t be as much pressure on him to carry this team which gives him a better chance to succeed. I expect Porcello to win between thirteen and sixteen games with an ERA under four. The sinkerball pitcher will be looking to rebound, and he will have the perfect opportunity to do that.