So for a long time, Rick Porcello’s biggest issue was that he couldn’t quite figure out his breaking ball. He was using a slider, but it wasn’t working for him at all and he famously shifted to a curveball in 2013 which worked really well. Porcello used it to improve his strikeout rate significantly and when paired with his solid changeup and dynamite sinker, he took the leap for which everyone had been waiting.
A funny thing happened on Saturday. Porcello pulled out the slider and it generated some swinging strikes.
If you’re not well-versed in the parlance of the game, pitchers who strike batters out are more likely to be successful, which seems obvious. But beyond that, pitchers who get batters to swing and miss are are more likely to get strikeouts. Apply the transitive property and you have Swings and Misses = Success. It’s obviously not perfect, but it’s a good sign. Porcello was already way better in 2013 without the slider (he threw one about 5-6% of the time). If this becomes something he can tap into on occasion (he threw 10 out of 93 today, including five swinging strikes), things could get very, very interesting for the 25 year old right hander.