Porcello’s change up changed greatly in 2018. His swinging strike rate dropped three percentage points and O-swing ten percentage points. Last season, O-contact jumped up over five percentage points. This all led to a change up with less than 10% K rate but with a career K rate about 15%. Additionally, he had the highest BABIP on this pitch for his whole career.
Porcello was more effective with his curve than the previous few years allowing fewer hits and home runs. O-swing dropped to 20% on the curve, something you do not want on a breaking pitch.
Porcello is seeing less velocity and less movement on his fastball. This may have accounted for his lowest swinging strike rate on his fastball since ’14 with a K rate below 30% for the first time since ’14 as well.
Porcello’s slider usage was at a career high in 2018. But it dropped off a bit in 2019 and it looks to be due to a surge in home runs allowed with eight, double from 2018 in 200 less pitches. Otherwise, it was just as an effective pitch as previous seasons, not the best slider but solid.
Porcello lost a bit of juice from his usually reliable slider, and the pitch dropped from 3 straight seasons of positive pVal to a ghastly -7.0 pVal in 2019. An ugly 20.5% HR/FB was the main culprit despite hitters only batting .233 against in overall. It actually had a better K% than last year at 22.9% but when it wasn’t there it got punished and was relegated to his third offering. Porcello will look to a change of scenery to improve.
Porcello threw his sinker less than ever last season, though it’s still his most-used pitch. He gave up half as many home runs with the sinker in 2018, but its weak whiff and chase rates keep Porcello’s strikeout numbers quite low.
The slider is Porcello’s preferred breaking ball, and it’s had at least a 4.0 pitch value the past three seasons. Porcello’s slider held opponents to a .214 batting average and just 15 extra-base hits on 751 offerings. Its usage jumped above his four-seamer in 2018, up near his sinker rates.
Porcello throws his sinker more than his four-seamer, though batters hit under .200 against the pitch for the second time in three seasons. Porcello’s four-seamer sits in the low-90s and he’s usually around the strike zone with it.
Similar to the changeup, Porcello doesn’t throw the curveball too often. It’s had a negative pitch value for four consecutive seasons and the slider remains his primary breaking ball.
Porcello doesn’t throw his changeup too often, but it was decent in 2018. The 20% strikeout rate last season was a high mark for the pitch, as was a 49.3% zone rate. It’s not a big whiff pitch, but Porcello throws it for strikes.