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Porcello Back In Cy Young Form?

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Boston Red Sox Rick Porcello Back In Cy Young Form? Let’s Examine It

We’ve all been a little tough on Rick Porcello this season. Better yet, our expectations have been a little tough on the 28-year-old righty. The high-hopes we have for this young sinkerballer are ambitious, to say the least. He won the Cy Young award last year, so this is to be expected. But what happens now that Porcello has failed to reproduce his 2016 numbers? We all attempt to shield “Pretty Ricky” with, 100% unwarranted, ponderous excuse-making.

We all know he doesn’t get much run-support, but that’s beside the point. I’ve heard speculations of phantom-injuries. I’ve seen cushioning such as: “he’s not getting on top of the ball”, followed by pedantic frame-by-frame analysis of his mechanics. As if a hangnail could render Porcello an entirely different player!

We’ll grant this kid absurd impunity before we admit that he’s not actually as good as he appeared to be in 2016.

Here’s the scoop: he’s not.

It’s safe to consider his bewildering 2017 underperformance to be Porcello regressing to the mean. No one is impervious to the law of numbers, not even a Cy Young winning pitcher.

A Breakthrough Fluke

Porcello’s superlative 2016 season was a statistical outlier. Every player is allotted 1, Porcello’s was just more impressive than others. Last year he had a 3.15 ERA and won a league-high 22 games for the Red Sox. He was ace-like. Conversely, his career ERA is 4.24. Prior to 2016, the most wins he had in a single season was 15. Rick Porcello unequivocally had a career-year in 2016. This kid pulled a Cy Young season out of thin-air. Boston, this is not something Porcello is gonna do again anytime soon.

This season, Rick Porcello has posted rather underwhelming numbers. He has an unimpressive 4.63 ERA and only has 6 victories. What’s the deal, he’s a Cy Young winner, right? This is barely a below-average year for Porcello. It’s the juxtaposition with his numbers from last year, that makes his 2017 performance seem like he’s absolutely vomiting on himself.

Porcello’s 4.63 ERA is only .39 runs higher than his career ERA of 4.24. His output in this same category last year was a full 1.09 runs lower than his average, making 2016 the less accurate example of his ability. This illustrates exactly why our standards for Rick Porcello need to be adjusted.

Back to Reality

Perhaps the most alarming disparity between Porcello’s 2017 season when compared to prior years, is a number of home runs he has allowed. 

In 24 games, Rick Porcello has given up 28 homers. Last season he gave up a total of 23, and in 2015 he gave up 25. This year, it seems like he can’t go a game without giving up the token long-ball!

This could be a symptom of Porcello feeling the pressure to over perform, or it could be that teams now have a more extensive scouting report on him. If he was to make an honest commentary on his failures, Porcello would probably just shrug his shoulders. And that’s just fine, sometimes there’s no more honest an answer.

All that should be expected from and all that we need to see from Rick Porcello is the 4.24 ERA pitcher that he really is. Sure, we can explore excuses manifold for his bad 2017 season (whatever helps you sleep at night), but that only creates frustration. We have aces on this team. We have Cy Young winners on this team. If Porcello could settle into a middle of the rotation anchor, he’d be fulfilling his role with the Red Sox. He needs to do nothing more and nothing less than just that.

Columnist operating out of Manchester, NH. Retired pitcher (unprofessional not amateur). Voracious consumer of all things Celtics and Red Sox. Sometimes I produce content as well.

Boston Red Sox

Red Sox Rumor: Jackie Bradley Jr. Being Shopped For Trade

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With the Boston Red Sox looking to acquire a power bat this offseason to keep up with the Yankees they are reportedly shopping a core member of their current team.

According to Bob Nightengale of USA Today the player Boston is shopping is center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. One potential destination for Bradley is the Chicago Cubs. Chicago has been connected to Boston with slugger Kyle Schwarber potentially being available.

Schwarber has mashing power but has had issues at the plate having a .211 average last season that caused the Cubs to send the home run hitter back to the minors last June.

Bradley who hit 26 home runs two seasons ago fell back to 17 home runs this past season with a .245 batting average. His fielding ability though makes up for any shortcomings he has at the plate and his contract status could be very appealing in the trade market. Bradley Jr. has three years of arbitration remaining on his contract.

If Boston moves on from Bradley the likely scenario of outfield positioning would be moving Andrew Benintendi over to center field keeping Mookie Betts out in right field.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Stanton in Pinstripes Edition

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MLB Home Run Derby

The snow is now cascading down upon us with indifferent wrath. Today, Boston saw the first real Winter Storm of the impending season. And while you were outside futilely efforting to resist nature, with your shovels and snowblowers, the World of Baseball fractured entirely.

If you haven’t heard by now, you live under the most obscure rock in existence. The New York Yankees have purportedly acquired Giancarlo Stanton from Derek Jeter and the Miami Marlins. 

Stanton is currently going through the formality of physicals and medical checkups – as if there’s going to be anything physically wrong with this inhuman behemoth.

The Winter Meetings commence tomorrow. It is expected that the trade will be officially announced soon after.

Reports suggest that the Yankees have agreed to eat $265 million of Stanton’s contract, while sending Starlin Castro to Miami along with a couple of low-level pitching prospects.

This was our White Whale, Boston – this one got away and we still ended up dying in the end.

Dave Dombrowski looks like an absolute fool for having let this chiseled new-school Bambino slip through his hands. He immolated the entire pitching crop, down on the farm. So it’s inconceivable that Dombrowski didn’t offer the kitchen sink, in his pursuit of Stanton.

Conversely, underneath the surface, Giancarlo’s mind might have been irrevocably made up, before talks even started. He’s a city-slicker. Miami nightlife translates better to Big Apple nightlife than it does to the half-revelry of the Boston Commonwealth.

The Yankees obtain Giancarlo Stanton, presupposing the implications for the Red Sox and fans alike. It’s with a heavy heart that I unfortunately welcome you to a familiar and antique era of Red Sox Baseball. It’s the late 90’s all over again…

But, you know what? Let’s try to make light of this nonplussing news! Yeah, we don’t need Giancarlo Stanton and those Damn Yankees still won’t win the World Series! It’s time for another installment of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

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Boston Red Sox Do Not Need To Get A Big Bat

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Many have stated their wishes that the Boston Red Sox will go out and get a big-time bat for the heart of their order. A bat that they seemingly need to help protect the likes of Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez in the lineup. One of the bigger names connected to the team is Giancarlo Stanton, but reports show that idea as a longshot with Stanton not looking at Boston as a possibility.

Another name, Jose Abreu, is also reportedly out of the running with Ken Rosenthal reporting that the White Sox will not trade their slugger before the start of the season. With the potential list shortening with JD Martinez and Eric Hosmer leading the running, maybe Boston should sit still this offseason.

That is sort of a controversial take, but the notion of Hosmer or Martinez doesn’t get the juices flowing, and ultimately will cost the Red Sox more then they are worth.

So what is the answer, Boston still needs a first basemen for next season. A position that could be filled with Sam Travis and Hanley Ramirez given the idea that Dustin Pedroia will find some time at the DH spot next season with Eduardo Nunez getting some quality time at second base. Another possibility is Rafael Devers not panning out at third base and needing to move to first base or DH at times.

Also in the cards is prospect Michael Chavis who should find himself in AAA Pawtucket at some point next season and maybe in Boston at third base or first. Then comes the possibility of Blake Swihart or my favorite, Bryce Brentz. Both were getting trained at first base with Pawtucket last season and could see reps at first base if Dave Dombrowski opts to not sign a big-time bat.

Of course, these solutions are not as flashy and will not present an immediate threat for Boston in the heart of their order. But betting on the current roster to bounce back at the plate and see an emergence of another young player might be a route to take.

Worse case scenario they get the same amount of production and end up right around 90 wins like they were this past season. But the upside of keeping the financial flexibility going forward while trying out prospects might be the best thing for Boston to do instead of overreacting to fan pressure.

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