Rick Porcello
Rick Porcello
30-Year-Old PitcherSP
Boston Red Sox
2019 Fantasy Outlook
This seems strange to say about a former AL Cy Young winner, but Porcello may be the most under-appreciated starter in the game. He led the eventual World Series champion Red Sox in starts and wins, and finished with just two fewer quality starts than team leader David Price. The right-hander averaged close to a strikeout per inning -- his 23.5% K-rate was a career high -- while maintaining a low walk rate (5.9%). Home runs remain the Achilles heel for Porcello, but he was better in that regard in 2018, trimming his total allowed from 38 to 27 as he brought his groundball rate back above 44% (from 39.2%). Porcello poured in first-pitch strikes at a 66.7% clip, which ranked sixth among qualified starters. Opposing hitters make contact with his pitches in the zone at a high rate, but for Porcello, the good outweighs the bad with his approach. He is a certified workhorse on a great team. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed four-year, $82.5 million extension with Red Sox in April of 2015 that will keep him in Boston through the 2019 season.
Can't find plate against Phillies
PBoston Red Sox
August 21, 2019
Porcello (11-10) took the loss Wednesday, giving up three runs on three hits and four walks over five innings while striking out three as the Red Sox fell 5-2 to the Phillies.
A light rain fell throughout the game, which may have contributed to the 12 free passes and three wild pitches issued by the two staffs combined, and Porcello himself has only walked more than two batters in a start one other time since June 1. The right-hander will carry a 5.49 ERA and 112:42 K:BB through 144.1 innings into his next outing Tuesday, on the road at Coors Field.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2017
Even Split
Even Split
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2017vs Left .270 1129 234 79 277 57 8 48
Since 2017vs Right .265 1202 249 59 297 62 2 43
2019vs Left .282 318 50 25 81 16 4 12
2019vs Right .266 320 62 17 80 20 0 14
2018vs Left .241 384 96 25 84 14 3 15
2018vs Right .240 424 94 23 93 15 0 12
2017vs Left .286 427 88 29 112 27 1 21
2017vs Right .287 458 93 19 124 27 2 17
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2017
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
Since 2017Home 5.13 1.32 298.1 22 22 0 7.7 2.3 1.5
Since 2017Away 4.26 1.32 240.2 17 12 0 8.5 2.3 1.5
2019Home 5.10 1.32 97.0 8 7 0 6.1 2.8 1.3
2019Away 6.27 1.58 47.1 3 3 0 8.7 2.3 2.3
2018Home 4.77 1.07 88.2 7 4 0 8.4 1.9 1.7
2018Away 3.86 1.27 102.2 10 3 0 9.4 2.5 0.9
2017Home 5.43 1.52 112.2 7 11 0 8.5 2.2 1.6
2017Away 3.67 1.25 90.2 4 6 0 7.3 2.1 1.8
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Stat Review
How does Rick Porcello compare to other starting pitchers?
This section compares his stats with all starting pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 120 innings)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity, Barrels/BBE %, Balls Hit 95+ MPH %, and Spin Rate are benchmarked against this season's data (min 70 IP). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • K/BB
    Strikeout to walk ratio.
  • K/9
    Average strikeouts per nine innings.
  • BB/9
    Average walks per nine innings.
  • HR/9
    Average home runs allowed per nine innings.
  • Fastball
    Average fastball velocity.
  • ERA
    Earned run average. The average earned runs allowed per nine innings.
  • WHIP
    Walks plus hits per inning pitched.
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many balls in play against a pitcher go for hits.
  • GB/FB
    Groundball to flyball ratio. The higher the number, the more likely a pitcher is to induce groundballs.
  • Left On Base
    The percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Barrels/BBE
    The percentage of batted ball events resulting in a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Spin Rate
    Spin Rate is the rate of spin on a baseball after it is released. It is measured in revolutions per minute (rpm).
  • Balls Hit 95+ MPH
    The percentage of batted balls hit that met or exceeded the 95 MPH threshold.
  • Swinging Strike
    The percentage of pitches that result in a swing and a miss.
90.5 mph
Left On Base
Exit Velocity
88.4 mph
Spin Rate
2334 rpm
Balls Hit 95+ MPH
Swinging Strike
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Defensive Stats
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
At a glance, Porcello's 2017 campaign looks a lot like his 2015 one, leaving his AL Cy Young Award season from 2016 as an outlier. Home runs were up league-wide, leaving many pitchers with higher-than-ever home-run rates allowed. Porcello was no exception, as he posted a career-worst 1.68 HR/9 while his HR/FB rate (14.7 percent) was in the range of previous seasons. He allowed more hard contact than ever (38.3 percent hard-hit rate), as only his slider graded out as an above-average pitch in 2017. Yet somehow, Porcello managed to post the highest swinging-strike rate of his career (9.4 percent), which continues to support his three-year increase in strikeout rate during his time in Boston. On the plus side, he's been durable, having made 33 starts in consecutive seasons. If he can reduce the hard contact on balls in play, a push closer to the 4.00 ERA mark is possible in 2018, but asking for more improvement than that is likely a stretch.
A year after generating the ire of Boston's baseball followers, 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.
Prior to 2015, Porcello was a pretty consistent starter in Detroit, known for his sinker and coming off his first 200-inning season. The Red Sox liked him so much, they inked him to a four-year, $80 million deal. The move made sense on one level - locking up a young starter for his prime years - even though the AAV was over market. Porcello struggled early, getting away from the sinker and replacing it with very hittable four-seamers. The home-run rate climbed and his ERA was north of 5.00 from May until the end of the season. He had a mid-season turn on the disabled list due to a triceps injury, during which he found his arm slot and committed to throwing more sinkers and changeups and less fastballs. He was much better after his return - strikeouts were up, homers were down - and there's hope Boston will have a decent No. 2 starter.
Porcello arguably had the best season of his career in 2014. He won a personal-best 15 games while hurling a career-high 204.2 innings. He also picked up the first three shutouts of his career. The 26-year-old righty showed improved control, posting a career-best walk rate of 1.8 BB/9. Despite the evident growth, Porcello did regress in some areas. After striking out 7.2 batters per nine in 2013, he regressed back to 5.7 K/9, which is more in line with his career norm. He also saw a dip in velocity, as his fastball average dropped nearly one mph to 90.5. But Porcello’s bread and butter remained his ability to induce groundballs at a high clip. The Tigers infield defense struggled last year, and his numbers should improve with the move to Boston in the offseason. With six years under his belt, it’s unlikely Porcello will ever develop into much of a strikeout pitcher, but he has the skills to eat innings and pick up his fair share of wins while posting a decent ERA and WHIP.
While Porcello still hasn’t lived up to the promise he showed as a rookie in 2009, he did take significant enough strides in 2013 to be considered a decent middle-of-the-rotation option. Porcello posted the best winning percentage of his career (.629) en route to a 13-8 campaign while posting a 4.32 ERA and career-high 142 strikeouts. The biggest boost to his fantasy value came with his increased strikeout rate (7.2 K/9), which easily bested his previous high (5.5 K/9). Some of Porcello’s improvement is attributed to his improved breaking ball, switching from the previously heavy-used slider to a curveball that became his go-to off-speed pitch. All the while, Porcello remained an extreme groundball pitcher who also effectively limits free passes (2.1 BB/9). As his xFIP (3.19) hints, Porcello could have been even more impressive with a better defense behind him. Luckily for Porcello, Detroit has taken the necessary steps to improve their infield defense this offseason, as the trade of Prince Fielder should lead the way for Miguel Cabrera to move back to first base, and having Jose Iglesias around for the entire season at shortstop certainly won’t hurt. The trade rumors should cease after the Tigers decided to flip Doug Fister to Washington in December. Entering his age-25 season, Porcello still hasn’t hit his ceiling, but the strides he has made in 2013 have him headed in the right direction. He’ll once again be a breakout candidate for fantasy owners looking to fill out the back end of their rotation.
On the surface, the 2012 season looked like another season stuck in neutral for Porcello. The former first-round pick finished 10-12 with a 4.59 ERA while making 31 starts for the third time in four seasons. Despite the lack of huge statistical jump, Porcello showed some improvements in his fourth season. He gained velocity on his fastball, jumping from an average of 90 mph though his first three seasons to 92 last year. Porcello also posted career-best marks in strikeouts (5.5 K/9), groundball rate (2.2 GB/FB) and FIP (4.02). His .350 BABIP also hints at a bout of bad luck. As a groundball pitcher with low strikeout totals, Porcello is not the best fit with Detroit's weak infield defense, but there are signs of a potential turnaround for the 24-year-old righty. His spot in the rotation could be in danger after Detroit re-signed Anibal Sanchez, but come Opening Day we expect Porcello to be in a starting rotation, whether it is for the Tigers or another major league squad. He is still young enough to live up to his pedigree and should be a solid rotation filler in deeper formats.
While not as solid as his rookie season, Porcello was able to bounce back from a down 2010 campaign to show he’s still capable of living up to his first-round pedigree. For the second time in his three-year career, Porcello finished 14-9. He lowered his ERA from 4.91 to 4.75 while posting a career-best 104:46 K:BB ratio in 182.0 innings. The low strikeout totals still don’t invoke a pitcher with Porcello’s type of arsenal, so there’s still plenty of room for growth in the category for the young gun. At 23, Porcello has already proven he’s a capable major league pitcher, but he’ll need to continue showing progression in making batters swing and miss before taking that next step.
After a stellar rookie campaign, Porcello took a step back in 2010, finishing the season 10-12 with a 4.92 ERA and 1.389 WHIP in 27 starts. While Porcello started the 2010 season slowly, he was able to turn things around after a brief stint in the minors, posting a 6-5 record and 4.00 ERA after the break. The 22-year-old sports a mid-90s fastball and solid secondary pitches, which includes an improving slider that induces loads of groundballs. Unfortunately, his solid arsenal hasn't translated into high strikeout totals, as Porcello has managed just 4.7 K/9IP through two seasons. Despite his struggles last season and lack of strikeouts, the former first-round pick remains an intriguing talent with plenty of upside. That upside alone makes him worth looking at late in drafts as you fill out your rotation.
The former first-round pick completed his rapid ascent to the majors last year by being a surprise addition to the rotation out of spring training. The 21-year-old right-hander didn’t disappoint, finishing 14-9 with a 3.96 ERA and 1.336 WHIP in 170.2 innings. The one area where he didn’t impress was in strikeouts (89), but that total should increase as Porcello matures and learns how to keep hitters off balance by mixing in his secondary pitches better with his upper-90s fastball. The Tigers were understandably cautious with Porcello, as the team limited his innings and pitch counts during his first season of professional ball, but we should continue to see improvements in most categories as the reins are loosened.
Porcello, Detroit's top pick in 2007, posted a 72:33 K:BB ratio in 125 innings at High-A Lakeland as a 19-year-old. Porcello did not use his slider for most of the season, which enabled him to focus on his curveball and change-up. Don't let the lack of strikeouts scare you away from him in your prospect drafts. The lack of a slider likely accounted for the lower-than-expected strikeout numbers from a pitcher who works in the mid-90s with his fastball. Porcello could get a chance to compete for a rotation spot in the spring but that would be rushing him. It is more likely that the Tigers push him up to Double-A, and at 20-years-old he'll be among the youngest players at that level. The future looks bright.
Universally regarded as the best high school pitcher in the 2007 draft class, Porcello fell to the bottom part of the first round due to his ties to agent Scott Boras and a scholarship to North Carolina. Porcello didn't pitch after being drafted as the Tigers opted to have him start a throwing program. He can hit 97 mph and works in the mid-90s with his fastball. He has a plus change-up and two quality breaking balls. The Tigers think he could be the anchor of their rotation down the road but like all young arms, he'll need to stay healthy.
More Fantasy News
Cruises to 11th win
PBoston Red Sox
August 16, 2019
Porcello (11-9) picked up the win in Friday's 9-1 rout of the Orioles, allowing one run on four hits and two walks over six innings while striking out two.
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Sticking in rotation
PBoston Red Sox
August 13, 2019
Manager Alex Cora confirmed that Porcello would remain in Boston's rotation and make his next start Friday against the Orioles, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.
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Gives up two more homers
PBoston Red Sox
August 10, 2019
Porcello (10-9) allowed five runs on five hits with no walks and three strikeouts across five innings while taking a loss against the Angels on Saturday.
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Cruises to 10th win
PBoston Red Sox
August 5, 2019
Porcello (10-8) picked up the win in Monday's 7-5 victory over the Royals, allowing one run on four hits and two walks over six innings while striking out five.
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Wrecked by Rays
PBoston Red Sox
July 31, 2019
Porcello (9-8) took the loss Wednesday as the Red Sox were toppled 8-5 by the Rays, coughing up six runs on nine hits -- including three home runs -- and a walk over 5.2 innings while striking out seven.
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