Red Sox Ace: Rick Porcello

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When Rick Porcello was traded to the Boston Red Sox last year in exchange for cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes, Boston fans were wondering how this pitching staff was going to compete. Everyone thought that Clay Buchholz was going to have to step up and lead the staff. But will he really step up? In my opinion, no he won’t. However, the Texas native does have what it takes to be a strong number two starter. We have all seen what Buchholz is able to do when fully healthy. He is no doubt one of the best right handers in the baseball when he stays injury-free.

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Porcello, the New Jersey native, has been around great pitchers for his whole career including Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, David Price and Max Scherzer. No doubt, both men have what it takes to be the ace of the staff but, as we all know, has durability issues which result in him not staying on the field. The last season Buchholz had was 2007, if you wan’t to call playing four regular season games a season. since then, Buchholz has made a trip to the DL every year. Porcello has seen a total of eight days on the disabled list throughout his career with four of those days coming in Spring Training of 2009. Porcello’s injuries were minor including rib cage soreness, and a fingernail laceration.

Buchholz on the other hand has spent a total of 283 days on the DL throughout his career with injuries including hyper extending his right knee, bursitis in his right shoulder, a stress fracture in his lower back, a hamstring strain, esophogitis, general lower back soreness and meniscus surgery in his right knee. If Buchholz wants to be an ace he needs to step up and prove that he can be a workhorse. Buchholz’ rookie season came in 2008 and Porcello’s in 2009. Since 2009, Porcello has pitched 1073.1 innings while Buchholz has compiled 816.1 innings.

Buchholz has yet to make thirty starts in a season or pitch two hundred innings while Porcello has pitched thirty games four out of the six seasons he has played, starting in twenty-seven games and twenty-nine games in the other two seasons. Since 2009 Porcello has gone 76-62 while Buchholz has gone 61-34. Porcello has also started in thirty-one more games than Buchholz in that time.

Porcello also has fifty more strikeouts than Buchholz along with a higher ground ball percentage. In that span Buchholz has about one more K/9 than Porcello while Porcello has about one less BB/9 than Buchholz. Both men have about the same FIP with Buchholz compiling a 4.02 while Porcello owns a 4.03 FIP. FIP can be read like ERA and is a measurement of a pitcher’s performance that strips out the role of defense, luck and sequencing, making it a more stable indicator of how a pitcher preformed than a runs based statistic that would rely heavily on the defense behind the pitcher.

Porcello has been a better pitcher and a better investment throughout his career than Buchholz. As good as Buchholz’ aresnal of pitches can be, durabilty looks like it will get to Buchholz again this season. As they battle it out for the number one spot in the rotation this season, Porcello looks likely to come out on top. But regardless of the ace, they, along with the other twenty-four guys on the roster will be working toward bringing back another World Series trophy to Boston.

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