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Frederick Alfred "Rick" Porcello III

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Talk about straw man arguments. All I ever said was that some people seem to put too much stock in things like BABIP and K-to-BB, and provided examples where those stats didn't tell the whole story.

Then you guys turn around and tell me that Blyleven should be a HOFer. I never said he shouldn't -- but is he among the elite pitchers of all time? He certainly has posted one of the elite K-to-BB ratios of all time. You guys didn't address that; you merely said "Well, guys like Blyleven and Sutton were among the best of their generation."

Talk about straw man arguments. No baseball historian would consider Blyleven or Sutton among the top-10 elite pitchers of all time. Nobody said they weren't good, or HOF worthy.

It seemed to me like your example backfired because all the pitchers on the list were outstanding pitchers. If your list contained a couple of sub-par pitchers, then you would have an argument but it didn't. I'm really not getting what your list proves or what it has to do with Rick Porcello.

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Scottwood, I agree with you. But the vast majority of pitchers won't be great to start with, so it's highly unlikely Porcello will be a great pitcher, period.

I think Porcello's great movement on his pitches will enable him to be great without high strikeout totals. As I said, just taking today's game into account, Porcello has gotten to 2 strikes on several batters, many times on weak foul balls, only to induce defensive swings resulting in weak dribblers and popouts. He's not "missing bats," but he's pitching effectively.

.

He hasn't pitched effectively this year for the most part. He's been better lately.

Last year, he benefitted from a high ground ball rate (another favorite stat of mine) and strong infield defense. I like pitchers with high ground ball rates, but some years the infielders aren't going to make the plays. That's where the strikeouts become valuable.

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Okay, I know it's just a small sample size, but here's a breakdown of Porcello's wonderful performance today. I didn't pay close attention to the counts on each batter, but it's clear that Rick was getting many hitters to foul off pitches to get two strikes, then induced weak swings that resulted in outs.

1st inning:

Weak bounce out to 3B.

Strikeout swinging, (after a line shot that was just foul and a weak dribbler foul).

Weak pop up.

2nd inning:

Easy grounder to short

Can of corn to left (inducing a defensive swing after getting 2 strikes on the batter)

Strikeout. Went to 3-1 on the batter and induced a weak grounder that was just foul before getting the K on the 3-2 pitch.

3rd inning:

Can of corn to RF

Groundout to pitcher

Strikeout

4th inning:

Got to 1-2 on the batter before inducing a weak ground ball to 2nd.

Got two strikes on the batter before inducing a weak grounder to 3rd

First hit; a weak single to left on a 2-1 count; it should have been a 1-2 count but the umpire missed a pitch.

Can of corn to RF on the first pitch.

5th inning

Weak popup to left-center after falling behind 2-0

Swing and miss strikeout, after having induced three foul balls. (out of the 4 pitches, he “missed a bat” only once.)

Fell behind 3-0. Threw a wicked breaking pitch to make it 3-1. Induced weak dribbler foul. Another sharply hit ball, well foul. A line drive which Inge should have caught but misplayed. Runner reaches on the error.

Foul ball. Ball just outside. Swing and miss at a slow curve. Weak popup to shallow right on the 1-2 count.

6th Inning

Two called strikes that cut the plate on the outside black. Two weak foul balls. Weak dribbler to the mound on an 0-2 pitch.

Fell behind 2-0, before getting two foul balls. Sharply-hit groundout to 2B.

Foul dribbler. Ball. John McDonald hits a line shot homer to left on a pitch Porcello didn’t get inside enough; it appeared he was trying to go inside and get him to hit a foul ball.

Falls behind Bautista 2-0. Line drive, well foul. Fastball just outside. Off-balance foul ball. Weak popup on the 3-2 pitch.

7th inning

Ball. Weak foul ball. Ball. Can of corn to center.

Swing-back strike. Ball outside. Ball way outside. Weak dribbler to SS.

Weak dribbler to SS on the first pitch.

In no way was the low BABIP an indication that Rick was lucky. He only had 4 strikeouts, but got to two-strike counts on several batters before inducing weak swings.

Again, I realize this is just one game. But it's a game which totally defies the notion that a low BABIP is an indication of luck. There was nothing whatsoever lucky about Rick's performance today.

And I suspect a closer look at Porcello's 2009 season would also show that he wasn't lucky, but good.

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I think Porcello's great movement on his pitches will enable him to be great without high strikeout totals. As I said, just taking today's game into account, Porcello has gotten to 2 strikes on several batters, many times on weak foul balls, only to induce defensive swings resulting in weak dribblers and popouts. He's not "missing bats," but he's pitching effectively.

If he has such great movement, why aren't those swings and misses?

The fact, by your account, he allowed so many balls in play after getting 2 strikes suggests he isn't able to induce many swings and misses. Which is probably why he isn't getting strikeouts.

How is allowing a guy to put a ball in play more effective than fanning him once you have 2 strikes on him?

Yeah, I know it's a small sample size. But I bet if you went through his game logs last year, you'd find a bunch of similar games -- the outs where contact was made by the hitter were not indicuations of Porcello's "luck," but were the result of the hitters being unable to get good wood on the ball.

I'd also bet you would find games were he gave up line drives right at someone or had bloop hits fall in as well.

Every pitcher has games where balls are put weakly into play.

That's what I was disagreeing with. Gehringer seemed to be hinting that Rick was lucky last year because of his BABIP.

So you are suggesting he is the exception to the rule. We shall see.

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Tom Glavine was (is) left handed. Mark Beurlhe also has been pretty effective with a low K-rate, but he is left-handed as well.

I haven't found a RH starting pitcher that has managed the same.

Buehrle has also helped himself with a very low career bb rate (thus, a pretty good k/bb ratio). Porcello's bb rate has not been outstanding so far.

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It seemed to me like your example backfired because all the pitchers on the list were outstanding pitchers. If your list contained a couple of sub-par pitchers, then you would have an argument but it didn't. I'm really not getting what your list proves or what it has to do with Rick Porcello.

I don't think it backfired. Sure, all those pitchers were good, even great. But their K-BB numbers were elite. Again, show me a serious baseball historian who has Bert Blyleven on his all-time 25-man roster. And yet his K-BB numbers, taken by itself, would indicate that he is one of the Mount Rushmore elite-type pitchers. Same with Don Sutton and the others on that list who, while certainly great, would never be discussed in the same breath as Walter Johnson or Greg Maddux.

What does it have to do with Rick Porcello? I was merely responding to Gehringer's suggestion that Porcello was lucky last year.

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If he has such great movement, why aren't those swings and misses?

The fact, by your account, he allowed so many balls in play after getting 2 strikes suggests he isn't able to induce many swings and misses. Which is probably why he isn't getting strikeouts.

How is allowing a guy to put a ball in play more effective than fanning him once you have 2 strikes on him?

Who said it's "more effective?" All I'm saying is that he can be effective.

I'd also bet you would find games were he gave up line drives right at someone or had bloop hits fall in as well.

Every pitcher has games where balls are put weakly into play.

Sure they do. But good pitchers are able to have those games consistently.

So you are suggesting he is the exception to the rule. We shall see.

As I said, if he becomes great, he already will have become the exception to the rule. And, indeed we shall see.

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I don't understand what difference that makes.

It matters because LH can typically get away with pitching a little slower than RH pitchers and can typically can limit the running game a little better than RH pitchers because they face 1st base. LH pitching also face more RH batters, which is a little disadvantageous to the hitting teams in that RH batters take longer to get to first than LH batters, and probably more balls will be hit toward the shortstop as opposed to the 2nd baseman (usually ss are better defensively than 2nd basemen).

I can't honestly or intelligently give a definative reason why LH starting pitchers can live with a lower K-rate than RH starting pitchers, but it seems to be true. If you want to use that as a reason why Rick could or will buck the trend that says all recent elite starting RH pitcher had at least 6-7 K/9, more power to you, but I wouldn't bet on it.

Edited by Mr. Bigglesworth

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I don't think it backfired. Sure, all those pitchers were good, even great. But their K-BB numbers were elite. Again, show me a serious baseball historian who has Bert Blyleven on his all-time 25-man roster. And yet his K-BB numbers, taken by itself, would indicate that he is one of the Mount Rushmore elite-type pitchers. Same with Don Sutton and the others on that list who, while certainly great, would never be discussed in the same breath as Walter Johnson or Greg Maddux.

.

You can take any stat you want and list the top ten pitchers of all time and you'll get a different list each time. You'll never get a definitive list of the top ten pitchers of all time using just one stat. Nobody here claimed that you could. The fact is all the pitchers on your list were outstanding pitchers. Thus, I think you failed to prove your point with that list. In fact, I think you supported our argument instead.

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Who said it's "more effective?" All I'm saying is that he can be effective.

Which is it - Rick Porcello can be effective without strikeouts or is Rick going to be better than Verlander?

You seemingly keep moving the goal-posts, and it is hard to understand exactly what your position is. I've read multiple posts, and I honestly do not know what your position is.

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The only question I have is for Sportz: What were you saying about Porcello not improving after his stint at Toledo, versus prior to Toledo?

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Okay, I know it's just a small sample size, but here's a breakdown of Porcello's wonderful performance today. I didn't pay close attention to the counts on each batter, but it's clear that Rick was getting many hitters to foul off pitches to get two strikes, then induced weak swings that resulted in outs.

This is just your opinion on how the balls were hit after the event happened. Grounders that go right at defenders are going to look pretty weak. Most fly balls that are caught are going to look pretty weak. But, over time, regardless of the pitcher, those "weak" grounders are going to find holes. Something that looks like an innocent fly ball will drop for a hit. If my math is right, his BABIP today was .06. There is certainly a degree of luck involved in that b/c there is absolutely zero chance that that would be sustainable over the long run.

He was good today b/c he didn't walk anybody and got a couple K/s (his K/BB ratio was good) and he induced quite a few ground balls and a few infield fly balls. That bodes well for the future. I wouldn't look too much into the fact that only 1 ball in play fell for a hit b/c that is something he doesn't have much control over and its not something he'll be able to rely on in the long run.

Edited by Scottwood

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Which is it - Rick Porcello can be effective without strikeouts or is Rick going to be better than Verlander?

You seemingly keep moving the goal-posts, and it is hard to understand exactly what your position is. I've read multiple posts, and I honestly do not know what your position is.

I'll explain it once more and I'm going to sign off and enjoy the day.

I think Rick is going to become an elite pitcher. I'm guessing he'll be better than Verlander, who has better pure stuff but seems too stubborn sometimes. I think Rick already has a better game plan most days than Verlander, who often goes out there and tries to throw the ball past everyone, especially when he gets 2 strikes. That often results in 7-8 strikeouts, but he's out of the game by the 6th inning with 130 pitches.

Whereas I forsee Rick having lots of games in the future like today's: Not jaw dropping K totals, but efficient and effective. Obviously, Ricky won't pitch 2-hitters each time out, but I think he can keep the hitters off balance enough to be very successful without "missing bats." He didn't miss many bats today; most of those two-strike counts were the result of weak fouls.

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10 swinging strikes today out of ~100 pitches. One on a fastball, one on a curve, the rest on cutters/changeups (gameday is having trouble classifying pitches beyond that).

The reason he hasn't been getting more is because it's usually velocity/location that gets them on a fastball, and bite/sink on the others. The cutter/slider sure looked good today, hopefully that pitch is/becomes good enough to help with the Ks.

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I'll explain it once more and I'm going to sign off and enjoy the day.

I think Rick is going to become an elite pitcher. I'm guessing he'll be better than Verlander, who has better pure stuff but seems too stubborn sometimes. I think Rick already has a better game plan most days than Verlander, who often goes out there and tries to throw the ball past everyone, especially when he gets 2 strikes. That often results in 7-8 strikeouts, but he's out of the game by the 6th inning with 130 pitches.

Whereas I forsee Rick having lots of games in the future like today's: Not jaw dropping K totals, but efficient and effective. Obviously, Ricky won't pitch 2-hitters each time out, but I think he can keep the hitters off balance enough to be very successful without "missing bats." He didn't miss many bats today; most of those two-strike counts were the result of weak fouls.

I do not think there is any chance Rick will be more effective than Verlander without increasing his strikeout rate. I am signing off on this thread as well.

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I'll go out on a limb and say that Porcello's rate will improve, making this whole discussion moot.

I'm thinking that is a pretty strong limb you are going out on.

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The only question I have is for Sportz: What were you saying about Porcello not improving after his stint at Toledo, versus prior to Toledo?

I was saying..it's easy to chime in after a great performance..nothwistanding that his AUG ERA was 5.23 before today..

He's been better..but better than what..

Missed the game today..but you guys get far too excited about one or two outings..the cutter seems to be helping..but he needs more..he whiffed 4 guys..got 10 swing amd misses..better..but not elite..

I lke the fact he has rebounded from adversity and tweaked a few things..it's a step in the right direction..there still is a lot of room for improvement..

Keep in mind..last season what he did in his last 14 starts..he's done that now for 2 starts..with a putrid K/9 rate..it would be hard to be as dominant consitently with a 5.14 K/9 rate..scottwood and Biggs have addressed the reasons eloquently..

Edited by sportz4life

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I'm thinking that is a pretty strong limb you are going out on.
Maybe so, but he's only 3 years out of high school, with 156 innings of minor league baseball and 291 innings of MLB, and he's age 21. I don't think anyone can safely project him in either direction - yet. I think he'll be a slightly better than league average pitcher eventually, but not an ace.

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10 swinging strikes out of 100 pitches is actually quite good. Not that it means anything really (sample size). But I think 8% is about average this year. Ks are tough to look at in a game where you allow 2 base runners, because you're facing fewer batters.

His control was obviously good, command wasn't pinpoint by any stretch, but nobody was really doing much with the sinker anyways. I wouldn't call the cutter/slider elite yet by any stretch, but it's an improvement over what he had. And he used the curve well as more of a mix-up pitch than something that's featured.

For me, even if in 5 years he's developed into everything that he can, he's going to get his outs off the fastball, and they're not going to be strikeouts. But he does need that swing and miss pitch so he can put away hitters when he does get 2 strikes on them.

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I'll explain it once more and I'm going to sign off and enjoy the day.

I think Rick is going to become an elite pitcher. I'm guessing he'll be better than Verlander, who has better pure stuff but seems too stubborn sometimes. I think Rick already has a better game plan most days than Verlander, who often goes out there and tries to throw the ball past everyone, especially when he gets 2 strikes. That often results in 7-8 strikeouts, but he's out of the game by the 6th inning with 130 pitches.

Whereas I forsee Rick having lots of games in the future like today's: Not jaw dropping K totals, but efficient and effective. Obviously, Ricky won't pitch 2-hitters each time out, but I think he can keep the hitters off balance enough to be very successful without "missing bats." He didn't miss many bats today; most of those two-strike counts were the result of weak fouls.

Nobody is saying he needs jaw dropping k totals. He just needs better ones than he has now if he's going to be an elite pitcher. When there are men on base and he has two strikes on the batter, he can't always count on his defenders to help him. He needs a strikeout pitch. I don't think he'll be an elite pitcher if he doesn't get closer to the league average of 7 k per 9 IP. Can he be a solid pitcher with a low K/9? Sure, but not an elite one.

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I was saying..it's easy to chime in after a great performance..nothwistanding that his AUG ERA was 5.23 before today..

He's been better..but better than what..

Missed the game today..but you guys get far too excited about one or two outings..the cutter seems to be helping..but he needs more..he whiffed 4 guys..got 10 swing amd misses..better..but not elite..

I lke the fact he has rebounded from adversity and tweaked a few things..it's a step in the right direction..there still is a lot of room for improvement..

Keep in mind..last season what he did in his last 14 starts..he's done that now for 2 starts..with a putrid K/9 rate..it would be hard to be as dominant consitently with a 5.14 K/9 rate..scottwood and Biggs have addressed the reasons eloquently..

He's been "good" in the 2nd half since being recalled. I don't know why you keep going back to "better than what?" We all know he had a horrible first half.

Keep cherry-picking timelines but he now has a 4.06 ERA since being recalled. And his August ERA is down to 4.46 now so you can probably let that one go too. Not an amazing month by any means but nothing to keep blasting, IMO.

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Nobody is saying he needs jaw dropping k totals. He just needs better ones than he has now if he's going to be an elite pitcher. When there are men on base and he has two strikes on the batter, he can't always count on his defenders to help him. He needs a strikeout pitch. I don't think he'll be an elite pitcher if he doesn't get closer to the league average of 7 k per 9 IP. Can he be a solid pitcher with a low K/9? Sure, but not an elite one.

Why do you keep saying "relying on defense to help him"? That's what they're there for. It's not like everyone's hitting rockets and the defense is bailing him out. He's inducing a lot of weak ground balls, and that's every bit as good as a strikeout.

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