My rationale is that we've seen Porcello on hot streaks before, but he always returns to being the pitcher who gives up too many hits and allows too many of his baserunners to score. This streak is different from, for example, the six-game run Porcello had last midseason when he posted a 2.89 ERA, in that he is getting nearly a strikeout per inning, though he is doing it more by virtue of called strikes than swinging strikes. Porcello has been given credit for improving his performance by using his curveball more often, and over this recent stretch, he's been throwing more strikes with the pitch.
My Fantasy Baseball Today colleague Scott White explained why he's already buying into Porcello's upside, but we're still looking at small samples, so I'm still resisting putting too much stock in his improvement. However, there could be something to his strikeout surge, and it's worth tracking over his next few starts.
Porcello has surrendered just four earned runs in 27 innings over his last four starts to lower his ERA to 4.37. He also owns a 59:13 K:BB ratio in 70 innings. The Orioles will provide Porcello's next test Wednesday.
As Scott White has pointed out recently,
Porcello was a popular spring breakout candidate after dominating spring training with his curveball. But that success didn't initially carry over to the regular season. Porcello's most recent surge has been propelled by a shift on the pitching mound, which was initially pointed out by FanGraphs.com. Porcello has moved closer to the first base side of the rubber, and it seems to have helped him pitch better. Porcello is also relying on his breaking pitches a little more over his recent streak.
Porcello will take on the Twins Friday, and could be in for another strong start. While his surface level stats still look ugly, his advanced rates are promising. Porcello has a 4.86 ERA, but his 3.67 FIP is a better indicator of how well he can pitch. He should be added in Fantasy leagues before other owners take notice.
With another gem Saturday, the
Over the weekend, I added Porcello in just about every league where I needed pitching help -- the ones where hot-shot prospects like Michael Wacha, Gerrit Cole, Zack Wheeler and Tony Cingrani weren't available, anyway -- and moved him up to 72nd in my rest-of-season starting pitcher rankings. That's enough to make him rosterable in just about every league.
His performance so far isn't as far-fetched as you'd think. Not too long ago, Porcello himself was the hot-shot prospect, and at age 24, he could still end up meeting the full extent of his potential.
Spotted a 6-1 lead after three innings,
Porcello has posted three straight quality starts while striking out 25 batters over 20 innings. He'll take a 4.86 ERA into Friday's start against the Twins.
|CBSSports.com Player Ranking|
|6/18/2013 vs Baltimore|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
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|More Pitching Stats|
|Postseason Pitching Stats|
|Minor League Pitching Stats|
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