New York Mets Player Evaluations: Pitcher Rick Porcello

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

Rick Porcello fulfilled a childhood dream when he signed with the New York Mets before the 2020 season. When the season finally started, he could not improve from the worst season of his career in 2019. Porcello finished with the highest ERA of his career and only recorded one win on the season.

Getting off to a slow start was the theme of Porcello’s rough season. Through his first six starts, Porcello allowed 40 hits in 28 innings, resulting in a 6.43 ERA. On the season, Porcello struggled in the first three innings of the game, where he had a 6.94 ERA, and batters hit .363 against him.

In Porcello’s final six starts, the struggles were not as prevalent. The batting average against him lowered to .272, and had a 4.94 ERA over 31 innings. Porcello put up his best start of the season with 10 strikeouts over seven innings against the Atlanta Braves in this stretch.

Porcello went back to throwing his sinker 43% of the time compared to 26% during the 2019 season. The biggest issue for Porcello was his inability to work inside to both sides of the plate consistently. Since Porcello relies on contact for his success, he has to keep hitters off-balance and uncomfortable. Too often, hitters controlled the outside part of the plate, which caused the high batting averages against him.

Numbers Can Deceive

Despite the high ERA, Porcello had a few factors going with and against him. The Mets defense is a nightmare for any contact pitcher, and it certainly hurt Porcello more than it helped him. Porcello’s home run rate was lower than it was during his Cy Young season in 2016. He also had the lowest exit velocity against him since the stat began being recorded in 2015.

A lot of these stats show that Porcello was better than the ERA dictated. The soft contact percentage was by far the highest at 25.8%, and the hard-hit rate at 29.5% was lower than it was in his Cy Young season. The most telling stats of his season are his 3.33 FIP and 76 FIP-.

Return to Flushing?

Overall, Porcello went 1-7 with a 5.64 ERA in 59 innings with 54 strikeouts in 12 starts. Despite the common stats working against him, Porcello’s sabermetrics and deeper stats show there could still be value in the veteran right-hander. The Mets are looking to revamp their rotation, which leaves serious doubt about him returning. If the Mets sure up their defense, Porcello could be a good value at the back of the rotation of a long reliever in the bullpen.

2020 Grades On 20-80 Scale (2021 Projection)

Sinker: 40 (55), The sinker was a pitch Porcello relied on heavily, but it was very hit or miss. Opposing hitters batted .324 against it.

Slider: 45 (50), Thrown 29% of the time, and had a 21.9% whiff rate.

Changeup: 55 (55), Porcello threw significantly more to left-handed hitters, 101 to lefties compared to 23 to righties.

4-Seam Fastball: 45 (45), Rarely used, but batters only hit .211 against it and had good horizontal movement.

Curveball: 30 (35), Porcello never quite got a good feel of his curve. Batters hit .417 against it, and its spin rate from 2810 to 2588.

Command: 45 (60), Porcello’s control was pinpoint when avoiding walks but not so much when avoiding barrels.

Overall: 40 (50), It was a rough year for Porcello, but I expect him to bounce back to league average wherever he lands in 2021.

Rick Porcello apologizes to Mets’ fans: ‘I’m sorry that we couldn’t have done better for you’

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

While it is true that the New York Mets severely underperformed expectations this year by failing to qualify for the playoffs, it is also true that their pitching depth was basically evaporated at one point of the season. Noah Syndergaard was lost to Tommy John surgery in March and Marcus Stroman decided to opt out of the season because of COVID-19. Also, Michael Wacha, Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom and even replacement David Peterson (who has now won a spot in the team’s plans for the future) missed additional time with injury.

The one starter in the original Mets’ rotation that didn’t have any injury issues was Rick Porcello. Unfortunately, the right-hander wasn’t always dependable, even though he had a weird statistical season and wasn’t the disaster that it appears to be on the surface.

“To the Mets fans, I’m sorry we couldn’t have done better for you and given you something to watch through the postseason, but I hope we were able to give you some relief through your struggles in your daily lives,” Porcello said after his last appearance of the 2020 season on Saturday night.

That’s a classy way to own up to what happened, and shows that Porcello respects New York Mets’ fans and had a good time in his stint in New York. He signed a one-year, $10 million deal to play in 2020, meaning that he is set to hit free agency after the World Series ends.

The Mets had a good starter in Porcello

For the year, Porcello gave the Mets a 5.64 ERA, which means that run prevention was an issue, which is that ultimately matters. However, looking under the surface, his 3.32 Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) is a very good mark and more indicative of his performance than just ERA.

Since Fangraphs uses FIP to determine WAR, Porcello ended the season with a 1.6 mark which was actually the second-best in the Mets, behind deGrom’s 2.6.

Porcello had some horrible luck on balls in play (.373 BABIP) and with the men he left on base (59.5 LOB%.) So while it may seem like he had a horrible season, he didn’t in reality.

Will the Mets be interested in bringing him back next season? Only time will tell.

New York Mets: Nats Sweep Doubleheader to End Mets Playoff Hopes

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

The New York Mets needed an amazing start from Jacob deGrom to keep their postseason hopes alive, but he was only average on Saturday. In game one of the doubleheader, the Washington Nationals won 4-3 and took game two 5-3 against the struggling Rick Porcello. It became the fourth consecutive season that the Mets missed the playoffs.

Jacob deGrom came out firing bullets in the first inning. He hit 102 mph with his fastball, the fastest pitch of his career, and tying the fastest pitch of the season. deGrom ran into trouble from the third inning on, as he lost command, allowing a run in each of the final three innings he pitched. While striking out 10, his ERA went up to 2.38 and knocked out his chances of winning the Cy Young.

The Mets offense got to Max Scherzer early with a two-run home run from Wilson Ramos and a solo homer from Amed Rosario. Unfortunately, the Mets offense went dead late in the game as they left the lead run at third with one out in the sixth inning. Back-to-back strikeouts killed the rally and were followed by the Nationals taking the lead in the bottom half of the inning.

The Mets also lost Andres Gimenez to an oblique injury, which caused Rosario to enter the game. Dominic Smith also suffered a crushing blow, running face-first into the left-field fence. It allowed Andrew Stevenson to round the bases for an inside the park home run for his second homer of the game.

Porcello Struggles Again in Game Two

Rick Porcello towed the rubber for a meaningless game two of the doubleheader. He could not replicate the success from his last start allowing five runs over three innings. All the Nationals runs came in the third inning, as ten men went to the plate.

After the game, Porcello was disappointed in his poor season. He likely will not remain with the Mets for next season, and it is hard to see him landing with another contender in 2021. Porcello was not the only disappointed Mets starter as deGrom also voiced his frustrations with the underachieving Mets.

The Mets offense struggled outside of Pete Alonso. He hit a line-drive home run, which added to a good rebound day at the plate. Alonso showed better discipline at the plate and emphasized hitting the ball hard instead of just hitting it in the air.

Seth Lugo gets the final start of the season as he faces off against Austin Voth. Game 60 starts at 3:05 p.m. ET from Nationals Park as the Mets hope to avoid last place.

 

New York Mets: Disappointing as Ever in 4-1 Loss to Phillies

New York Mets, Brandon Nimmo

The New York Mets needed to take game one of their series against the Philadelphia Phillies. Much like they have all season, they disappointed and forgot to show up in their 4-1 loss. They beat themselves in every way a team possibly, adding more pain to their season.

It was precisely the type of game we have come to expect from the lackluster Mets. They stunk with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-6 in those situations and leaving 12 on base. As usual, team disappointments, Wilson Ramos and Pete Alonso each left five on base on their own.

The poor play translated to their baserunning and fielding as well. With manager Luis Rojas at the helm and working with plenty of these players in the minors, it is tough to see a team he manages play poorly. After another infuriating loss, it is all but confirmed that the Mets will not make the playoffs this season.

The lone Mets run came from a Brandon Nimmo solo-home run. Everything else for the Mets offense was ugly as can be. Another ugly detail from the game was how much of a better manager Joe Girardi is compared to Luis Rojas. Thankfully the incompetent fools who opted against Girardi are selling the team to Steve Cohen.

Porcello Struggles Again

Rick Porcello was signed as the Mets number five starter and unfortunately had higher expectations with a poor Mets rotation. He allowed four runs over six innings pitched, keeping his ERA above six. Porcello was the worst starting pitcher in baseball during 2019, so his 2020 performance should be no surprise.

A bright spot comes in Edwin Diaz‘s performance, where he struck out the side in the ninth inning. His ERA dropped to 1.80, but the Mets never give themselves a lead where they can use him to win. The loss to the Phillies was their sixth in eight games.

On Wednesday, the Mets send Jacob deGrom to the mound against the Phillies. The focus moves on to the Cy Young race as the first pitch is another 7:05 p.m. ET start from Citizens Bank Park.

 

New York Mets Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (9/15-9/17)

New York Mets, Luis Rojas

The last New York Mets series preview against the Philadelphia Phillies, at the time, was the most important series of the season. This three-game series has the same importance times ten as there are only two weeks left in the season. The Mets are 2.5 games behind the Phillies for the first wild card spot and two games behind the San Francisco Giants for the second spot.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Tuesday, (9/15) @ 7:05 p.m. ET: Rick Porcello (1-4, 6.07 ERA) vs. Jake Arrieta (3-4, 5.54 ERA)

Wednesday, (9/16) @ 7:05 p.m. ET: Jacob deGrom (4-1, 1.67 ERA) vs. TBD

Thursday, (9/17) @ 7:05 p.m. ET: Seth Lugo (2-3, 2.63 ERA) vs. TBD

Over the last 24 hours, you cannot talk about the Mets without the fantastic news of Steve Cohen signing an agreement to own 95% of the franchise. If the Mets do not make the playoffs, at least knowing Cohen is all but certain to own the team alleviates the pain.

Win or Go Home

The first game should get the same treatment a game seven would. Rick Porcello has struggled to find consistency all season and must have a short leash in game one. With Jacob deGrom and Seth Lugo following Porcello, it gives the Mets the best chance to win no matter who they face. Most likely, they will face Aaron Nola at some point in the series as well.

Beating Jake Arrieta is no easy task. He compiled two solid starts in a row, with the first coming against the Mets. As always, the ultimate goal is getting to the bullpen early in the game. It is a major Achilles heel for the Phillies, and Arrieta throws a lot of pitches early in the game, which helps the Mets cause.

With all the disappointment flooding the Mets season, they still have an opportunity to erase that during this series. Winning two is a must; three is a dream, and anything less spells the end of their season. The Phillies are the last opponent they play, which allows them to move up in the wild card hunt with victories automatically.

Stats to Lookout For

Rick Porcello vs. Didi Gregorious: 7-for-43 (.163), 2 Doubles, 2 Home Runs, 3 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Jake Arrieta vs. Robinson Cano: 6-for-34 (.176), 2 Doubles, 4 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Jake Arrieta vs. Jeff McNeil: 13-for-23 (.565), Double, Home Run, Strikeout

Jacob deGrom vs. Bryce Harper: 11-for-36 (.306), 2 Doubles, 2 Home Runs, 8 Walks, 12 Strikeouts

New York Mets Series Preview: Baltimore Orioles (9/8-9/9)

New York Mets, Amed Rosario

The New York Mets welcome in the Baltimore Orioles for a short two-game series at Citi Field. They split their two-game series last week, but both teams currently sit on the outside looking in of the playoff race.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Tuesday, (9/8) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: John Means (0-3, 8.10 ERA) vs. Michael Wacha (1-2, 7.20 ERA)

Wednesday, (9/9) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: TBD vs. Rick Porcello (1-4, 5.54 ERA)

Michael Wacha looks to put together a good start after a season full of poor ones. He has failed to complete the sixth inning in any of his outings this season. Wacha could relax a little more in this start with the offense rolling and facing John Means, who allowed four runs in five innings against the Mets.

Lefty on Lefty

The Mets went with their right-handed heavy lineup against Means but left their three hottest left-handed hitters in the lineup. Michael Conforto is hitting .348 on the season and hitting a career-high .310 against southpaws. Jeff McNeil looks like the All-Star hitter he was last year, hitting home runs in back to back games and .381 over his previous 11 games.

Andres Gimenez is the third left in the lineup, and he joins Amed Rosario up the middle. Gimenez earned the opportunity to start against a lefty with his efforts in the series against the Phillies. Even if he struggles in game one, his gold glove caliber defense is tough to remove from the field. Since Rosario does not have the glove Gimenez has, Rosario gets to stay at shortstop while the versatile Gimenez goes to second base.

Matchups/Stats to Lookout For

Jeff McNeil on the First Pitch in 2020: 9-for-26 (.346), 5 Doubles, Home Run

Pete Alonso Batting Fifth in 2020: 5-for-13 (.385), 2 Doubles, Home Run, Walk, 4 Strikeouts

Jose Iglesias During Away Games in 2020: 22-for-50 (.440), 7 Doubles, Walk, 9 Strikeouts

 

New York Mets: Late Mistakes Costly in 5-3 Loss to Phillies

The New York Mets finally got a good outing out of a starting pitcher but it could not mask the fatigue of the bullpen. One run allowed in the seventh and two in the eighth gave the Phillies bullpen enough wiggle room after Jake Arrieta pitched seven strong innings in the Mets 5-3 loss.

Manager Luis Rojas tried to push Jared Hughes through another outing but it did not work out. Over 1.1 innings he allowed three runs, four hits, and walked two. A two-out double led to a Roman Quinn RBI single to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead.

In the eighth, Rhys Hoskins’s leadoff walk and a Didi Gregorius single set the table again for the Phillies. The inept Mets defense showed again when J.D. Davis made a poor throw to Dominic Smith on a Jean Segura infield single. The error gave the Phillies a 4-2 lead and an Adam Haseley hit by pitch by Brad Brach made it a 5-2 game.

Arrieta Flashback

Arrieta had an ERA above six heading to his start, but he did not show it against the Mets. He held the Mets to two runs over seven innings and also struck out seven. The two runs came on a Michael Conforto two-run home run in the fifth.

The Mets had an opportunity to tie the game in the eighth. Smith made it a 5-3 game with an RBI single and gave Robinson Cano and Pete Alonso opportunities to hit with runners on first and second with one out.

Cano’s hit a line drive that Hoskins snagged with a dive, preventing it from becoming an extra-base hit. It effectively killed the momentum the Mets had in the eighth. Alonso got to a 3-2 count but popped up a slider from Tommy Hunter to end the rally and continue his hitting struggles with runners in scoring position.

Rick Porcello had a strong start going six innings, allowing three hits, two runs and struck out six. He retired the last 12 batters he faced and gave the Mets exactly what they needed out of him. The Mets did not help themselves out by going 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and leaving six on base.

The Mets try to get back into the win column on Saturday by sending Seth Lugo to make the start. He faces Spencer Howard at 7:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

New York Mets Series Preview: Philadelphia Phillies (9/4-9/7)

New York Mets, Rick Porcello

After two straight victories, the New York Mets welcome in the red hot Philadelphia Phillies for a four-game weekend series. It is the biggest series of the season for the Mets, and it is against a team that swept them in their prior matchup in the abbreviated 2020 season.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Friday, (9/4) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Jake Arrieta (2-4, 6.49 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (1-4, 6.00 ERA)

Saturday, (9/5) @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Spencer Howard (1-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. Seth Lugo (1-2, 2.12 ERA)

Sunday, (9/6) @ 1:10 p.m. ET: Aaron Nola (4-2, 2.45 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (2-1, 1.76 ERA)

Monday, (9/7) @ 1:10 p.m. ET: Zack Wheeler (4-0, 2.20 ERA) vs. TBD

The Mets come into the series just 1.5 games out of a wild card spot. With the constant failures throughout the pitching staff, they have to feel lucky to have an opportunity to make the postseason. The Phillies have won nine of their last ten, which allowed them to surge up into one of the spots the Mets are trying to chase.

Need Innings?

The only way the Mets can maintain success is with a rested bullpen due to their starters going deep into games. Rick Porcello has thrown the second-highest amount of innings, but they have not resulted in success. He has a 6.00 ERA and needs to set the tone with a good start to open the series.

Seth Lugo hopes to get into the fifth inning for the first time this season. He is almost stretched out fully as a starter and has not skipped a beat since returning to the rotation. One more strong start from Lugo, and we could see his ERA drop below two.

Sunday afternoon’s matchup features two premiere aces. Jacob deGrom against Aaron Nola sets up to be a low scoring contest. Both pitchers have previous strong outings against their opponents throughout their careers. Let us not forget that deGrom also pitches his best during day games.

Zack Wheeler also closes out the series, making his first start as an opponent at Citi Field. He won 19 games and had a 4.15 ERA over 60 career starts at Citi Field.

After homering in two consecutive games, Pete Alonso looks to start a hot streak that carries through the rest of the season. Out of all the bats in the Mets lineup, he holds the most weight when he is hitting consistently.

Matchups to Lookout For

Jake Arrieta vs. Robinson Cano: 6-for-31 (.194), 2 Doubles, 4 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Jake Arrieta vs. Jeff McNeil: 13-for-20 (.650), Double, Home Run

Rick Porcello vs. Didi Gregorious: 7-for-40 (.175), 2 Doubles, 2 Home Runs, 3 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. J.T. Realmuto: 4-for-25 (.160), Double, 9 Strikeouts

Aaron Nola vs. Michael Conforto: 5-for-32 (.156), Double, Home Run, 4 Walks, 12 Strikeouts

New York Mets: The Rust Showed in Doubleheader Loss to the Marlins

New York Mets, Billy Hamilton

The New York Mets finally resumed play after a five-day layoff due to COVID-19 precautions but did not show any excitement to be on the field. After the extended time off, the Mets looked like they were sleepwalking on the field. No play symbolized how awful the Mets looked when Jon Berti turned into Ricky Henderson on the base paths.

After a walk in the sixth inning of game two, he stole all three bases to give the Marlins an insurance run. It was partly due to the inexperience catcher Ali Sanchez and the lack of awareness from the Mets infielders. Berti stole third and home with a delayed steal, showing what an extended layoff does to a team. The Mets lost both games of the doubleheader (4-0, 3-0) and failed to score in either game.

The offense that was red hot prior to the cancellation of Thursday’s game and failed to show up in either game. The Mets left 19 men on base and went hitless in 15 plate appearances in the doubleheader. It was worse than any box score could show as the Mets looked like a careless team, completely going through the motions.

Lugo Dominant

Despite the failures at the plate, Seth Lugo came out firing in his first start since the 2018 season. He threw three perfect innings and struck out five batters. Manager Luis Rojas said Lugo could throw about 50-60 pitches but yanked him after 39 for Jared Hughes. Like most of the moves Rojas has made this season, it blew up in his face. Hughes allowed two runs and it was all the Marlins needed in game two.

As for game one, Rick Porcello allowed four runs over three innings. The Marlins got him for three two-out hits to bring home their opening runs against the Mets starter. Luckily, a rain delay allowed Corey Oswalt to shine in relief with four shutout innings. Oswalt has put together two good outings since his return to the big leagues and puts himself in line to earn a start over the weekend.

Hopefully, the inexcusable performance is just due to the five-day layoff. After the Marlins leave, the competition gets tougher with the New York Yankees come into town. If they cannot compete against a group of major league journeymen and minor league call-ups, they will be lucky to win another game this month.

Jacob deGrom hopes to right the ship on Wednesday night against Elieser Hernandez at Citi Field. Unlike game two, the Mets will be the home team in their own ballpark at 7:10 p.m. ET.

New York Mets Series Preview: Miami Marlins (8/25-8/27)

The New York Mets are finally back in action after a couple of positive COVID-19 tests halted their season. They will pick up with the same team they left off against in the Miami Marlins. Their schedule is jammed packed for the next week, and it starts with four games in three days.

Probable Pitching Matchups

Tuesday, 8/25 @ 5:10 p.m. ET: Daniel Castano (0-2, 5.91 ERA) vs. Rick Porcello (1-3, 5.76 ERA)

Tuesday, 8/25 @ Directly After the First Game: TBD vs. Seth Lugo (1-2, 2.61 ERA)

Wednesday, 8/26 @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Elieser Hernandez (1-0, 2.29 ERA) vs. Jacob deGrom (2-0, 1.93 ERA)

Thursday, 8/27 @ 7:10 p.m. ET: Sixto Sanchez (1-0, 5.40 ERA) vs. TBD

For everyone speculating about who the Met with COVID is, we have our list narrowed down to two. Tomas Nido and Andres Gimenez were put on the injured list without a specific injury, which is the norm when it is a COVID-19 related listing. The player without a positive test is on the IL likely due to close contact with the staff member who tested positive.

Back to the Schedule

The Marlins are a team familiar with returning to the field after a long layoff. They have to miss a large chunk of their schedule after the virus spread throughout their team very early in the season. It stunted their hot start to the season, and their record has not recovered yet.

Rick Porcello gets the first start of the twi-night doubleheader and looks to continue his good stretch on the mound. After putting up a 13.50 ERA during his first two starts, he has a 3.32 ERA since despite hitters batting over .300 against him over that stretch. One of those two numbers is going to balance out the other. It is tough to maintain success when batters are continuously getting on base.

Seth Lugo also returns to the starting rotation for the first time since the 2018 season. Lugo will remain in the rotation as long as he pitches well, but the Mets will have to be careful when building up his stamina. He has been pitching with a partially torn UCL, and there has to be a concern that becoming a starter will cause more damage if pushed too far. As such a valuable asset to the Mets pitching staff, the Mets desperately need him healthy.

Matchups to Look Out For

Jacob deGrom vs. Lewis Brinson: 4-for-22 (.182), Double, 8 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Jon Berti: 6-for-15 (.400), 3 Doubles, 2 Strikeouts

Dominic Smith w/RISP: .318/.393/.682, Home Run, 15 RBI

Seth Lugo Career As a Starter: 13-8, 4.06 ERA, 31 Starts