Detroit Tigers

2011 Fantasy Baseball Sleeper Alert: Rick Porcello

NEW YORK - AUGUST 19:  Rick Porcello #48 of the Detroit Tigers delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees on August 19, 2010 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Andrew SwansonContributor IIJanuary 26, 2011

The goal for every fantasy manager is to find the proverbial diamond in the rough, a player who provides early round production despite being taken in the latter part of the draft. These players are not easy to find due to the unpredictable nature of the sport, however it is important to use some late round picks on possible breakout players to help fortify your lineup. 

One possible breakout player that we are tracking for 2011 is Rick Porcello, a third year starting pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. Drafted 27th overall in the 2007 amateur draft, Porcello needed only one year in the minors to develop his craft before becoming a full time starter for the Tigers in 2009. 

In his first full year as a starter, Porcello was third in AL rookie of the year voting with a 14-9 record and 3.96 ERA. He started 31 games for Detroit, averaging a respectable 4.7 k’s per nine innings while walking an average of 1.71 batters per outing. After his strong start he followed up his rookie year with a disappointing sophomore campaign, posting an unimpressive 10-12 record with an ERA of nearly five, with an opposing batting average of .288.  

Although he had a poor 2010 season, Porcello is a young talent who pitches in one of the most pitcher friendly parks in the AL. He has a potent offense to provide ample run support that will make him a lock to win 10 games. 

He does have a few areas of needed improvement, as he gives up almost 10 hits per nine innings, resulting in a fairly high WHIP for a starter at 1.38. In addition, his strikeout total is not as high as it should be for a pitcher with his cache of pitches. I predict that as he gets older and more confident in his stuff, he will be able to increase his strikeout total to over 100 K’s per season.  

I anticipate that Porcello will fail to crack the top 30 pitchers in mixed leagues, making him a late round pick if he is drafted at all.  Most owners will shy away from him due to his lackluster 2010 stats, yet he is well worth a final pick for those in deeper leagues. I would not be surprised if he posts a 15-10 record with a mid three ERA and around 100 K’s this season.

This article was originally published on www.kramericasports.com, the home of free fantasy news, rankings, and advice.

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