He was maybe not the most disappointing, but he was certainly the worst. In 2019, Red Sox fans saw why the organization was very hesitant to extend him last Spring Training.
The Story of His Season
Rick Porcello’s season started like seemingly every Red Sox pitcher’s season started. His first three starts consisted of 14 earned runs in 11.1 innings pitched. It was highlighted by allowing Chris Davis to break his 54-at-bat hitless streak on a two-run single. Things looked bleak for the man who dons #22, but he seemed to right the ship for the next two months. Over his next 12 starts, he sported a 3.30 ERA, .643 OPS against, and 4.9 K/BB ratio. This run was highlighted by him throwing seven shutout innings against the Minnesota Twins, who entered the game leading the league in OPS and runs scored. This game brought his ERA down to a respectable 4.31. This would be the lowest it got all year.
After a rough start against Toronto, Porcello was unable to get out of the first inning in London against the Yankees. He allowed six earned runs while getting just one out, and his season was unable to recover from there. After shutting out the Twins for seven innings during his dominant run, he posted a 6.75 ERA in 86.2 innings. Opponents hit .299 with an .884 OPS against him during this stretch. Porcello also allowed 2.0 home runs per nine innings in these 86.2 innings.
One of the Worst Pitchers of the 2019
Eighty-eight pitchers threw at least 140 innings in 2019. Of those 88 pitchers, Porcello had the 13th highest FIP (4.76), 11th highest HR/9 (1.6), 9th highest AVG against (.278), 6th highest SLG against (.483), 3rd lowest percentage of men left on base (65.7%), and, to top it all off, the worst ERA (5.52).
The reason his left-on-base percentage was so bad was because he was atrocious when men were in scoring position. Of the 61 pitchers who faced 150 batters w/RISP, Porcello had the 4th highest AVG against (.314), 2nd highest OBP against (.407), and 2nd highest SLG against (.571) in these situations.
Should the Red Sox try to keep him for cheap?
It was a terrible walk year for the man they call “Pretty Ricky”, but maybe you can just chalk it up to him being “odd year Porcello.” If the Red Sox can get him on a cheap one-year deal, who is saying “no” to that? His last three “even years” have consisted of 3.43, 3.15, and 4.28 ERA’s. It may be entirely coincidental, but the Red Sox could use all the pitching depth they can get. The one plus from Porcello’s horrid season could be him contributing to the 2020 team for a low price.
Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (Sept. 29, 2018 – Source: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images North America)