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Digging Deeper Into Rick Porcello’s 2017 Season

Photo Credit: Dale Zanine/ USA TODAY Sports

Last year, Rick Porcello narrowly beat Justin Verlander by two percent (five votes) to claim the American League Cy Young Award on its 60th anniversary. Although the race was close, Verlander should have taken the crown, but that’s a conversation for another day.

That 2016 season was Porcello’s second with the Boston Red sox since he was traded by the Detroit Tigers during the 2014 Winter Meetings in exchange for rent-a-player, Yoenis Cespedes.

The 2015 year treated the Red Sox right-hander poorly as he laboured through the season with a 4.92 ERA, which was up significantly from his 2014 ERA of 3.43.

Previously noted, his 2016, Cy Young winning campaign saw a major 180-degree flip in every way. His ERA was down to 3.15 and his WHIP also saw some love as that decreased .360 points down to just 1.0.

While he is definitely nowhere close to what he was last year, he has certainly seen some impressive performances this year. But for every great performance, that has been a terrible one too.

The regression that was displayed in the first three starts of the season was absolutely ridiculous. Over that brief span he was pitching an average 5.2 innings per game with a combined 14 earned runs and 25 hits. That high hit numbers put him on track for 284 hits for the season. But luckily for him that number has gone down and he’s only on track for 249 at this moment in time, which however would end up being a career high for him.

For an even bigger sample size, his first 15 games as the reigning champion were just as bad, if not worse.

Batters who faced Porcello totaled out to a .316 batting average in the span (April 3-June 17) and he posted a 5.05 ERA.

However, in his last 16 starts, his numbers have been slowly receding, but receding nonetheless.

He’s seen just four games with four or more earned runs being scored against him in this stretch, as opposed to the six in the first 15 games. His ERA, WHIP, opponent batting average and opponent OPS all saw significant drops.

His ERA dropped to 3.78, WHIP went from 1.53 to 1.21, batting average was down to .252, and OPS dove about 100 points from .864 to .760.

Obviously, the past cannot be changed, but hypothetically, what would Porcello’s win/loss ratio look like if he won every game in which he allowed two or less earned runs? This is asked due the fact that each victorious decision last season, he averaged just 2.14 earned runs per victorious game. There were 22 victories.

15-9 would be his record. That’s a .600 winning percentage.

Now what if the team contributed enough and won each game in which he allowed three earned or less? 20-6. That’s a .796 winning percentage.


That just goes to show you that the offense/bullpen has really let Porcello down this year and that his struggles are not entirely 100 percent his fault. Maybe in the 2018 season we will a Cy Young resurgence in Porcello.

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