Rick Porcello has made two starts since being demoted to Triple-A with mixed results (he had a 6.14 ERA and 1.69 WHIP over 70.1 innings prior to the demotion):

Start No. 1 (June 24): 8.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 BB, 3 K, W
Start No. 2 (June 29): 6.0 IP, 5 ER, 10 H, 3 BB, 3 K

One of the main problems with Porcello is his inability to strike batters out, something that has been carried with him at Triple-A. That’s not something that is very encouraging.

Even if you were to have a beneficial BABIP, the more balls that are put in play, the more hits that are going to be allowed. Just look at this example:

100 IP
90 K (8.1 K/9)
10 HR (0.9 HR/9)
92 Hits

That would result in a BABIP of .299.

Now, let’s look at the same numbers, but reduce the K/9 to the 4.2 that Porcello had posted prior to being demoted:

100 IP
47 K (4.2 K/9)
10 HR (0.9 HR/9)

If he were to duplicate the .299 BABIP, he would allow 110 hits.

For him to duplicate the 92 hits, his BABIP would be an extremely lucky .259.

That tells you how big of an impact strikeouts can have on a pitcher’s performance and why it is something significant to watch with Porcello. If he can begin striking out more batters, even if it were just to the 6.0 K/9 range, it would make a humongous difference. The fact that at Triple-A he has not shown any improvement is very discouraging.

We’ll continue to track his progress, but if he can’t get strikeouts at Triple-A, chances are he’s not going to have much value for the rest of 2010.

What are your thoughts on Porcello? Is there any chance he becomes usable again in 2010, or is he better left for 2011?


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