With three seasons already under his belt, it's sometimes hard to remember that Rick Porcello is only 23 years old. (And he doesn't turn 24 until December.)
Some predicted a breakout season for Porcello this year and through two starts he's making good on those forecasts. So far, he has allowed 12 hits and 1 BB in 14.2 IP while striking out 8. His ERA is 1.84.
He's getting groundballs a little more than 50 percent of the time, which is key to his success. I'm sure most would feel better about his ability to sustain this success if he struck out more batters, but he's hovered between 4.6/9 IP and 5.1/9 IP throughout his career.
Obviously, this year's results are an extremely tiny sample. But Porcello pitched well during spring training and ended last season on a high note.
Over his last seven regular season starts in 2011, Porcello was 3-1 with a 3.50 ERA. The Tigers were 6-1 in those starts. He got groundballs 60 percent of the time.
How important are groundballs to Porcello? Last year, there were six games in which he gave up at least three more flyballs than groundballs (according to game logs on baseball-reference.com). He gave up 33 earned runs in those six starts, for an 11.28 ERA.
By my math, that means his ERA in his remaining 25 starts was 3.64.