Found June 15, 2013 on 643ball:
Kevin Ward  The fantasy stock report is a weekly article that will provide insight on particular hitters or pitchers whose stock is either rising or falling based on recent performances. This week we’ll look at a pair of pitchers:  Rick Porcello and Travis Wood. Bullish: Rick PorcelloRick Porcello is a changed man. The 24 year old RHP is currently 4-3 with a 4.37 ERA. Those numbers are considered a little below average for a starting pitcher on the Tigers and also for your fantasy team. Porcello started the 2013 season in the same below average fashion that we are accustomed to. Rick ended the month with a 1-2 record and an ERA of 8.84. Horrible month coupled with rumors of his demotion to the bullpen and Drew Smyly taking his turn in the rotation. Then something changed for Mr. Porcello, he started to get more strikeouts. Strikeouts have always been an issue for Porcello and his faithful fantasy owners. He has never posted a K/9 over 6 in the major leagues. Rick is currently sitting at 7.59 K/9. Those extra strikeouts are especially meaningful for a groundball pitcher on a bad fielding team and the fact that Porcello rarely walks batters. Porcello currently ranks 17th among qualified pitchers with a K/BB ratio of 4.54. That means for every 1 walk that Rick issues, he strikes out 4.54 batters. Before I go on explaining how Porcello has changed, let me offer you some quick metrics. Porcello’s xFIP ranks 9th in the majors and his SIERA ranks 12th, those metrics include his first four dreadful starts. In the last 30 days, he ranks behind only Chris Sale in both SIERA and xFIP. He is also producing for his fantasy owners with the 19th best ERA and the 13th best K%, in those last 30 days. Rick is pitching much better and he is actually getting a little unlucky. His HR% is the most since his Rookie-of-the-year season and his LOB% is the lowest of his career. So what is Rick Porcello doing differently this year? It's simple, he is throwing his curveball more and his slider less. The curve was considered his strikeout pitch when he was drafted out of high school. He used it 7.6% of the time his rookie-of-the-year season but never more than 3.2% in the following years. This year he is throwing his  curve 16.7% of the time. He is also going back to his rookie year for his slider usage. His rookie year, Porcello threw the slider 4.8% of the time and this year he is throwing it 4.6% of the time. Compared to his three other seasons where 14.1% was the lowest amount of sliders thrown and 21.2% was the highest. Porcello is making changes and getting good results. What I think is amazing is that he is only 24 years old and this is his 5th year in the Majors. He is doing what is necessary to stick in the Tigers amazing rotation and apparently found the right mix of pitches that will help him take the next step in his development. Also, luck has not been on his side so far this season, so there could be some positive regression to the mean, in store for him. I would not hesitate to trade for him in both redrafts and keeper leagues. Cite his 4.37 ERA as a reason his current owner should give him up but remember Rick Porcello has made changes and he is a different pitcher.Bearish: Travis WoodTravis Wood is 5-5 with a 2.65 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP so far this season. That’s good enough for 11th best WHIP in the Majors and 16th best ERA. Impressive for a pitcher you probably found on your waiver wire. While the early season results have been helpful for your fantasy team, there are warning signs in his advanced metrics that predict Wood will not be able to keep it up. The first red flag is Wood’s across the board career numbers. HR% and BABIP are both a career high for Wood and figure to normalize towards his career averages in the future. Wood is actually striking out a career low amount of batters this season but he has managed to keep his walk rate down. Wood possesses an xFIP of 4.46 and a SIERA of 4.48. Travis’ fastball only reaches an average MPH of 89. That isn't going to get batters out very often in the Major Leagues. Wood has made some improvements. He has a career high SwStr%, opponents are making weak contract against him and he is also getting the batters to swing outside the zone more often. Wood is doing it was smoke and mirrors but can he continue to keep it up? You know that you won’t get many wins from a pitcher on the Cubs and do you expect Travis Wood to be in the top 20 in both WHIP and ERA for the rest of the season? Obviously, you don’t want to drop a guy that has been so helpful for your team this year. See if you deal him to a less astute owner. If you decide to keep him, make sure you take stock of each of his starts. If he begins to falter don’t hesitate to dump him.Trevor SteelFollow Trevor on Twitter @TrevorCSteelThank you to FangraphsJoin our live chats Sunday at 9 PM
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