Comparing Clayton Kershaw and Rick Porcello

Prior to the season we discussed Detroit's decision to have Rick Porcello start the season in the rotation.  One argument was that it would be starting his arbitration clock a year early and therefore should be avoided if possible.  The other argument stated that Porcello is one of the top 5 pitchers in Detroit, and therefore should be included in the rotation. 

I find it natural to compare Porcello and Kershaw.  Both were outstanding high school pitchers drafted in the first round.  Both spent very little time in the minors and were quickly called to major league duty.  Since both pitched yesterday (and both got a quality start and a win) I found it appropriate to compare where they both are at this point.   Admittedly, I will probably comparing these 2 pitches for a while as  both are two of my favorite young pitchers in the majors.

Clayton Kershaw

  • Age- 21 years old
  • Games Started- 10
  • ERA- 4.34
  • WHIP- 1.29
  • FIP- 4.14

Rick Porcello

  • Age- 20 years old
  • Games Started- 9
  • ERA- 3.48
  • WHIP- 1.20
  • FIP- 4.68

Porcello leads Kershaw in most categories except FIP.  Porcello currently has a HR/FB ratio of 14.3% compared to Kershaw's of 9.1% (making up the delta in FIP.)  Also, Kershaw is striking out more batters per nine (8.84) compared to Porcello (5.57.)  Kershaw is however penalized with BB/9 ratio of 5.14 compared to Porcello of 2.79. 

Suffice it to say, I think both are putting up incredible numbers considering their ages.  Both have very high ceilings and in my opinion both belong in the starting rotation.  Both the Tigers and Dodgers are in first place, so both are interested in fielding the best team possible. Coming into the season, Kershaw was clearly going to be in the rotation, and there has been no reason to question that.  Other than Billingsley and Wolf, Kershaw is clearly the next best option.  Porcello won the starting job late in spring training and it was mostly predicated on injuries.  Bonderman and Willis were not going to be available to start the year, so Porcello's number was called.  Bonderman is still out.  Willis is back and has pitched fairly well (considering the past two years) though Porcello is now firmly entrenched in the starting rotation.  Galarraga has struggled and when Bonderman becomes available, I have no doubts Porcello will stay in the rotation.

Porcello and Kershaw have gotten out to excellent starts to their careers, and I have a feeling they will be compared for years to come. 


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