Friday, May 29, 2009

Rick Porcello Revisited

A number of very young pitchers were placed in major league rotations to start this season. In most cases, I thought their promotions were premature based on their minor league performance to date. I happen to have been wrong on most of them, including Rick Porcello. In 51.2 innings pitched, he's struck out 32 batters and walked 16. That would be good enough to get by in any case, but given his exceptional 54% groundball rate, it's terrific. Three lessons that his success so far reinforces - young pitchers can improve very rapidly, it would be really nice to have access to minor league groundball rate data, and sometimes the scouts DO know something that basic statistical data can't tell us. My gloomy forecast for Porcello ignored what people were saying about him not having been allowed to use his secondary pitches last season.


Andrew said...

Porcello is the man(child) and the K rate will only climb. The Tigers have told him to pitch to contact from day one, to develop that as a strength and keep his pitch counts low, but he has the stuff to be a high-K pitcher as well.

You can see minor league GB% and other useful stats at

Alex said...

I'm going to have to take a look at I know they have some interesting park factor data there too.

I'm still bitter about Mel Stottlemyre teaching Dwight Gooden to "pitch to contact".

Jenifer said...

He's clearly the best overall, but there are some days when other guys are better simply because of match ups.

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