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Ren & Stimpy. Beavis & Butt-head. Laverne & Shirley. Will & Grace. Tom & Jerry. Sanford & Son. Rizzoli & Isles. Franklin & Bash. Hollywood has always had a fascination with highlighting the relationship between two. It makes sense. The world is dualistic in nature. Yin and Yang. Good versus Evil. White and Black. Whatever the reason, that is what the people enjoy and, whatever the people enjoy,  is where the money flows to. The world is such a simple place. With the inaugural baseball Bear or Bull article coinciding with the beginning of the new television season, I thought it would be appropriate to pay homage to the famous pairings of TV past and bring you pairs on a weekly basis. I am a person of the people after all. Honestly, Jay, my editor and top-10 fantasy football ranker, asked me to talk about two similar players every week. That wouldn’t make for an interesting open though. So with that said, until the regular season starts, you shall be blessed with a double shot of Bear or Bull every week!!! Who doesn’t like a 2-for-1? Well, I usually do except when that one owner offers up Kenta Maeda and Jacoby Ellsbury for Mike Trout every week. EF that guy!

For this week’s edition, I chose to write about Rick Porcello and Danny Duffy, the perfect TV couple, hence Porcello & Duffy. Porcello is a righty and relies more on guile and craftiness. Duffy, on the other hand, literally throws with the other hand and can bring the heat to make both men and women alike soil their panties. According to NFBC ADP data as of 1/16/17, Porcello is the 24th pitcher off the board at pick 108 and Duffy is the 25th pitcher at pick 111.21. To find out who is a bear and who is a bull, stay tuned after the break. What would a TV-inspired article be without an interlude? Instead of a commercial, though, enjoy one of my favorite music videos of all time.

Best video of all time. Hands down. Okay, back to our regular scheduled programming.

Rick Porcello

Porcello’s first year in Boston was a dud. That made him an undervalued asset going into last year, rewarding those that took a flyer on him with a career year. He pitched 223 innings which was the most in forever ever. That was only the second time in his eight year professional career that he had eclipsed the 200 inning threshold. The 3.15 ERA was the best in forever ever. The 189 strikeouts was the best in….

I’m selling Porcello at his current price. <ducks> I realize he just won the AL Cy Young, but I feel like everything aligned for him last year. Kind of like how Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker back in 2003. On a side note, does anyone believe his name is Moneymaker? Seriously? Porcello had a strand rate of 74.3%, after languishing in the high 60s for most of his career. The BABIP was .269. That number will probably be closer to .300. Looking at his pitch profile, there was nothing out of the ordinary. He threw his fastball 61.8% of the time, slider 12.4%, curveball 13.7%, and changeup 12.1%. He did throw his fastball a little less and slider a little more, but nothing too drastric from career norms. The batted ball profile does show some interesting things. The GB/FB rate was 1.13 in 2016. That’s the lowest mark in…..please refer to the above video. The career rate is 1.70. The HR/FB was only 9.3%, while the career mark is 11.3%. I do have to give him a ton of credit for lowering his walk rate. That has been a weakness throughout his career. Was 2016 an anomaly or the beginning of a trend? I’m always willing to give credit to players learning and improving their craft as they get older, so the improvement in controlling the strike zone is something I can buy into. With that said, I do think the stars aligned for Porcello last season. Will he be a good pitcher? I think he will. Will he be Cy Young-caliber? I have my doubts. I would have a hard time paying for a career year from a pitcher that has a K/9 in the mid-7s and throws around 90 mph.

VERDICT:

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Danny Duffy

If any of you have read my stuff in the past, you know that I have always had a soft spot in my heart for Duffy. Go back into my archives if you are a non-believer. Plus, I have a need for speed. Fast cars, women, and arms. Hmmm, that makes no sense whatsoever but you know what I mean. Duffy could always throw hard. Mid-to-upper 90s. Unfortunately, he was early Ricky Vaughn-esque. Juuuuuust a bit outside. I’m a Raiders fan, so it’s possible that all those years of Al Davis’ need for speed seeped into my baseball brain. I guess Duffy is like Davis’ Darrius Heyward-Bey. Now, imagine if Heyward-Bey learned how to catch. That’s basically Duffy’s 2016. He got his walk rate down to 5.8%. That figure was 9% in 2015, 8.8% in 2014, 13.5% in 2013, and 14.9% in 2012. It’s definitely been a #Process. How many years did it take Sam Hinke to land Joel Embid? Exactly. Now, there are some definite concerns here with Duffy. He allowed 27 home runs, 26 to righties. RHB went .250/.305/.455 against Duffy last season. The 179.2 innings pitched last season were the most in……I should’ve just titled this piece “Forever Ever.” He had never gone over 150 in a season prior to last year. Now, here’s the good. 9.42 K/9. 12.9% swinging strike rate. The Royals just signed him to a five-year, $65 million extension. That information is better than looking at the Vegas O/U to figure out who to play in DFS. And that ain’t chump change. That’s a significant investment. The Royals also have one of the best defenses in all of baseball, which is good for any pitcher. He still throws really hard. The thing that gets me rock hard about Duffy is his new approach. He has basically scratched the curveball and gone to a fastball, slider, changeup arsenal. He threw the changeup 17.1% of the time last year. Since he throws mid-90s, I think the slider and changeup complement his fastball so much better. If you pay for Porcello, you are paying for last year’s performance, which is basically his ceiling. With Duffy, there is just so much more upside.

VERDICT:

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Doink
Doink
5 years ago

? ? “I let you take a swing, and you bunted for an easy out…” ? ?

Doink
Doink
Reply to  Son
5 years ago

@Son:
every time you take a stance you do the puppet man’s dance

Copperhead Road
Copperhead Road
5 years ago

I hear you. From August 27 start to the end he was tough to own (fatigue?). I do like his division though with the New look White Sox.

Copperhead Road
Copperhead Road
5 years ago

Thanks for the anaysis. Porcello will be kept in my league by his current owner. Hopefully, he’ll treat him like the number 1 he isn’t and not be draft competition for guys like Duffy. Is it too much to ask that Duffy becomes this year’s Porcello? Lots of the data point toward it.
With Ventura’s sad departure the Royals will need a big year from Duffy, too.

hondo
hondo
5 years ago

Excellent read,I lost a good chunk of my life googling stuff.

Moneymaker is his real name.His family used to make coins and changed it from some German name.
Heyward-Bey signed for 3.8 mil over 3 years in 2016 and ran a 4.30 forty at the combine,but did a 4.23 at Maryland(Yay Terps!)

Don’t get the Pharcyde video,scratching head.

The baseball stuff was good too.

Keep ’em coming.

The discarded head of Ted Williams
5 years ago

I am new to a dynasty league and took procello at the end of the dispersal draft (a few new teams).

He would be $6 to keep next year. 5×5 league (qs+w).

I would never draft him, but at that value I gotta right?

It is him, $9 Miller and a $5 Valesquez. Gotta pick two.

The discarded head of Ted Williams
Reply to  Son
5 years ago

@Son: no. Sorry. Andrew.

Shelby? C’mon. I’m a razzball reader… you think I would be considering Shelby?

AL KOHOLIC
AL KOHOLIC
5 years ago

nice work,thanks

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
5 years ago

A few things on Porcello, his results have improved as he’s gotten away from groundball tendencies generating a lot more weak contact and popups. How has he done this?

He changed the grip on his curve, and the crispness and depth of the hook improved. He started using his two fastballs more effectively, particularly his four seamer which is a spin rate stalwart. He changed his sequencing and started throwing the 4 seamer more frequently and later in counts. Then there’s the development of Porcello pitching inside to lefties using his two seamer more often to do so. All in all it generated weaker contact from batters, mostly of the fly variety.

So while his stuff isn’t overpowering he’s an art of pitching guy that while not a perennial Cy Young contender, he’s a good pitcher that should continue to provide good ratios.

Love Duffy and keep up the good work.

Geoff
Ralph Lifshitz
Reply to  Son
5 years ago

@Son: Haha thanks man! Love your work here. I’ve watched a lot of Porcello as a Red Sox fan. I think you nailed it though, he’ll be good, but a repeat of the Cy Young performance is highly unlikely.

Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo
Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo
5 years ago

porcello’s hit rate (BABIP) was 34/30/32/35’s the last few years going backward (a decimal removed from my source) last 4 years before 2016, so i’d certainly take the over of 300 BABIP this year. even worse than that is his fly ball rate has climbed for 5 years in a row, going backward including 2016, 38/33/29/24/23, this has come out of the GB rate, which back in 2013 was 55%, last year down to 43%. his line drive rate is slightly better last year compared to previous. due to those fly balls i’d bet his HR rate is closer to 2 years ago (14%) than the 9% from last year.

looking at that, a jump of 4 or 5% per year for fly ball rate each of the last 3 seasons has gotta be one of worst in baseball over that time i’d think. i’m guessing it’s possible he’s inducing more bad contact pop flies, but i don’t know.

Son
Son
Reply to  Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo
5 years ago

@Joey Jo Jo Jr Shabadoo: I like the breakdown and agree. Infield fly ball rate was a career high 13.8%, so that ties into what you are saying. I’m thinking it’s a combination of approach and luck.

Packers
Packers
5 years ago

Thanks, and I look forward to your post in the future. I agree with your assessment of these two pitchers.

Son
Son
Reply to  Packers
5 years ago

@Packers: Thanks. Appreciate that. Good luck for your Packers today

Montezuma's Revenge...right now
Montezuma's Revenge...right now
5 years ago

ahahaha, love it. in an AL only 10 teamer with holds and OPS as added stuff i have both duffy/porcello, and we do 3 keepers but you have to pay last year’s ADP on them in the next year. so duffy is a CLEAR keep in some mid teens round. porcello is too, also in late middle-late teens rounds, and i don’t buy at all his ERA luck (we have QS over wins, and he does go deep in games so he didn’t get nearly as lucky with those as wins last year). neat thing is i can probably either just keep him this year at that awesome price or trade him either (idealy) predraft or post draft at a MUCH higher value.

Montezuma's Revenge...right now
Montezuma's Revenge...right now
Reply to  Montezuma's Revenge...right now
5 years ago

@Montezuma’s Revenge…right now: last year’s ADP so it actually rewards good prognosticating. i have also have miggy/correa which would both be 1st rounders. just realized it’s ideal if i trade porcello it be after the draft, so i’d still get his ADP from last year to this year’s value difference in my favor.