Which Pitcher is More Valuable?


Let’s play a guessing game. I’m going to put two statistical lines of two pitchers currently in the MLB. Try to decide who is who. No peaking!

Pitcher A 25 years old
Career line: 32-39 584 IP 5.83 K/9 3.14 BB/9 1.85 K/BB 1.11 HR/9 .295 BABIP 50.4 GB% 4.59 ERA 4.52 FIP 4.36 SIERA
Pitch selection from 2011: 91.3 average FB, also throws slider (19.4%) curveball (9.4%) changeup (12.2%)

Pitcher B 23 years old
Career line: 38-30 515 IP 4.84 K/9 2.38 BB/9 2.04 K/BB 1.03 HR/9 .300 BABIP 51.9 GB% 4.54 ERA 4.38 FIP 4.32 SIERA
Pitch selection from 2011: 90.2 average FB, also throws slider (19.5%) curveball (2.7%) changeup (12.4%)

Pretty similar, right? Both were first round picks for their respective teams, and named the #1 prospect at some point in their minor league careers for their respective teams. Give up yet?

Pitcher A is Chris Volstad. He was just traded for Carlos Zambrano yesterday. Volstad has not taken the step forward that the Marlins wanted to see in his fourth year in the big leagues, and they decided to snag Zambrano, and team him up with fellow big personality manager Ozzie Guillen to regain the magic he once had. A change of scenery is probably good for both Volstad and Zambrano, who will be given every chance to succeed with their new organizations.

Pitcher B is none other than Tiger right hander Rick Porcello. Rick hasn’t had as much success as many thought he would coming out of high school. Once compared to Roy Halladay and Josh Beckett, Porcello is struggling to take that next step forward. This year is a huge year for Rick, determining his future, especially as a Tiger. Expected to make close to 4MM, and only becoming more expensive, Porcello’s time as a really cheap, cost-controlled asset is running out.

Why then, was Volstad basically given away, while Porcello is still revered, and could probably still bring a big return? If someone like Trevor Cahill, who is the same age as Porcello, and has immense home/road splits (3.24 career ERA at home, 4.71 ERA on road), Rick should bring a nice haul as well. Sure, Porcello may have some more upside than a guy like Volstad, is a couple years younger, or is a bit more refined. It’s really not that different though. With that being said, how long should the Tigers wait for Porcello to come around? That’s a popular question I’ve come across this offseason.