Three Right-Handed Pitching Targets for the SF Giants
3. Rick Porcello
While Jake Odorizzi and Taijuan Walker may be looking for multi-year deals, Rick Porcello is likely headed for a one-year, low-risk contract.
Despite debuting with the Detroit Tigers way back in 2009, Porcello will only enter his age-32 season in 2021. However, the 2020 season was a forgettable one for the right-handed hurler, but there is some reason for optimism. In 12 appearances, Porcello registered a 5.64 ERA, but a 3.33 FIP, 1.50 WHIP, and a 20.7 percent strikeout rate against a 5.7 walk rate across 59 frames.
If you are a believer in FIP, then Porcello pitched way better than his 5.64 ERA would suggest. That said, he has produced a 5.55 ERA over his last 233.1 innings, so perhaps poor luck has nothing to do with it.
Since 2009, Porcello has been a far better pitcher than his 2020 performance would indicate. In 12 seasons, he has produced a 4.40 ERA, 4.06 FIP, 1.32 WHIP, and a 17.5 percent strikeout rate against a 5.5 percent walk rate.
On top of this, he has proven to be a workhouse as he has logged over 2,000 innings pitched to his ledger. The question is, does a pitcher with that much mileage on his arm have anything left while being on the wrong side of 30?
He still excels in some areas. While he has never been much of a strikeout machine, Porcello does not beat himself by issuing free passes as he has posted a healthy 3.19 SO/W rate throughout his career.
The problem with many pitchers who pitch too much in the strike zone is that they tend to give up the long ball at too high of a frequency. That has not been the case with Porcello as he has generated a 1.1 HR/9 rate while spending much of his career in the hitter-friendly ballparks of the American League East Divison.
Furthermore, he generates weak contact as he has induced a ground ball in 47.2 percent of his batted ball events to go along with a healthy 1.46 GB/FB ratio in 12 seasons.
He may not be the perfect option, but he does have some upside as well. The Giants have a lot of rotation innings currently unaccounted for with the 2021 rotation, and adding Porcello would help in soaking up some innings on an affordable contract.