A year after generating the ire of Boston's baseball followers, Rick Porcello won the AL Cy Young award and a league-high 22 games. Sure, he had a league-high support of 6.61 runs per game in his starts, but much of this was for real. He accented his career-best ERA by striking out 5.91 batters to every walk, and he posted his best control rate thanks in large part to a stellar first-strike percentage (64.2). He stopped throwing the four-seamer as often, something coaches harped on him about in 2015. Still, many pitfalls remain, including his underwhelming ability to overpower hitters and a dwindling groundball rate. That 3.89 xFIP and .269 BABIP showed how much good fortune he enjoyed, as well. Though he'll remain a useful fantasy arm, he doesn't boast the profile of a mixed-league ace or even a solid SP2.
Porcello has been named the Opening Day starter by manager John Farrell, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports. It's a well-deserved accolade for the reigning Cy Young Award winner. The right-hander is coming off a career-best campaign in which he posted a 22-4 record, a 3.15 ERA, and a 7.6 K/9 ratio, while leading the Red Sox to an AL East championship. Porcello is recovering from a thumb injury suffered earlier in spring training, but seems to be on track for a quick return. Boston opens the 2017 season at home against Pittsburgh.
Porcello (thumb) threw five innings in a minor-league intrasquad game Monday, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal reports. Porcello was scheduled to throw four innings, but felt well enough to go five. He threw 75 pitches, 54 for strikes, and struck out six without issuing a walk. The right-hander, who had taken a comebacker off his right thumb during his first spring start, is back on schedule to start Opening Day for Boston.
Porcello (thumb) will throw four innings during an intra-squad game Monday, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald reports. Porcello took a come-backer of his right thumb during his first spring start, but has not missed any throwing sessions since and remains on a five-day schedule.
Porcello (thumb) will throw a light side session Saturday and is scheduled for a simulated game Monday, Maureen Mullen reports. Porcello seems to be recovering well after being struck by a liner in Wednesday's Grapefruit League game. He stayed in the game after the incident and subsequent X-rays turned up negative, so it seems he's well on the way back to regular activities. The Red Sox are in no position to lose Porcello's Cy Young arm with David Price (elbow) already on the shelf.
Porcello's right thumb is still experiencing swelling, but X-rays were negative, and he won't play catch until at least Friday before he makes his scheduled Monday return to action, Scott Lauber of ESPN.com reports. The right-hander was struck by a comebacker Wednesday against the Mets but stayed in the game afterward. The reigning Cy Young Award winner endured a brutal day otherwise but still displayed solid command (four runs, five hits, one walk, four strikeouts), so as long as he makes it through Monday, fantasy players in mixed leagues can return to considering him in the middle rounds.