Red Sox Cy Young Predictor: Rick Porcello

Sep 19, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello (22) pitches during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 19, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rick Porcello (22) pitches during the first inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Boston Red Sox starter Rick Porcello will win the Cy Young Award based on my own predictor – Porcello deserves it.

The Cy Young Award is really a fundamentally flawed award since it is based on the best and not the most valuable pitcher. Pitching with money on the line certainly should have its props. The time is probably ripe – overripe – to have a second award such as a pitcher of the year or some other such nonsense to give credence to a stellar performer who just may be pitching for the dregs of baseball. Maybe naming it after Felix Hernandez?

Rick Porcello simply deserves the award anyway one wishes to define it and my assumption is the voters will consciously or subconsciously take into consideration the position that a team is in when casting their ballots. I would simply quantify it as common sense overruling the possible strict interpretations of the award. Bending the rules is a long-standing baseball tradition.

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Porcello certainly has the various numbers that stand out if you use either traditional or metrics. The one number that is the most significant is the win total – that is the idea of a starter – to put your team in a position to gather in a victory. Porcello has done that thanks to good run support, going deep into contests and managing to survive a shaky – at times – bullpen. I do not subscribe to the mentality of dismissing wins as some archaic figure that belongs back in the days of Kid Nichols.

The intriguing Cy Young Predictor also has Porcello with a substantial lead over Corey Kluber in the American League race. The Predictor is a formula devised by Bill James and Rob Neyer and incorporats a victory bonus into the formula. Maybe the Predictor will give comfort to those that have a metrics blinder firmly in place?

The starting pitcher certainly sets the tone and rhythm of the game. Porcello takes the ball and quickly dispenses of it and no need for the endless gyrations and delays of a Clay Buchholz. But pitching is more than just the rhythm of the game, it is keeping the offense you are facing uncertain and fairly mesmerized by being able to present a rather complex variety of pitches. Porcello does just that.

Porcello has five basic pitches that he utilizes – the traditional fastball, its two-seam companion, a curve, slider, and change. The two fastball set is used at a rate of 50% and the remaining three options divvy up the balance. What I particularly gravitate towards is the discrepancy in speed between the fastball(s) and his change – about 10 MPH. And the curve is even greater since the speed drops to 73.6 MPH. That is noticeable in the buckling knees of batters or swings taken with one foot in some neither land.

I hate walks. Despise them as much as a call from “Heather” at Cardholders Services or some other annoying attempt to pilfer my small fortune. For Porcello stingy is the optimum term applied to his parsimonious handout of the free pass. Porcello’s BB/9 is just a meager 1.24. That is certainly reflected in a league-best 0.98 WHIP.

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Porcello – like David Price – will occasionally offer up a plum to a batter and watch as a pitch sails majestically into the evening dusk or the bright sunshine of the day. With control comes the occasional “fat one” that leaves the yard. As the great Robin Roberts once noted: “Sometimes my strikes get too much of the plate.” Despite that “flaw” Porcello still, has among the most respectable HR/9 figures in the American League with a 0.94.

When Price tanked for the first half of the season up stepped pinch runner Steven Wright and Porcello to take a tattered rotation and provide a modicum of respectability and stability. That was crucial to prevent a listing ship from entering the Davy Jones Locker of baseball – a place where the Tampa Bay Rays now rest.

Porcello has been remarkably consistent all season long and consistency of quality is an asset that pays dividends that are translated to wins. The wins are the type that garners attention since they will put a damper on a mini losing streak, allow a tattered bullpen a slight respite and give a comfort zone to those behind Porcello with the bat and glove.

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With a few remaining games, this is simply a done deal to my slanted Red Sox point of view. The combination of numbers and importance of those numbers makes Porcello the obvious choice for the Cy Young Award.

Sources: Fangraphs/