In MLB this year, there have been 70 games started by 17 different pitchers making their MLB debut in 2009. While it is still early, only 5 have posted ERAs below 4.50: Baltimore’s Koji Uehara, Detroit’s Rick Porcello, and the Jays’ Ricky Romero, Robert Ray and Brett Cecil. Uehara is a 34-year-old “rookie” with 10 years on the staff of the Yomiuri Giants in Japan.
Excluding Porcello and the three Jays, the 2009 debut group has been averaging 5.38 innings per start with a WHIP of 1.59, ERA of 5.96, an average Game Score (GSc) of 42.2 and only 1/3 of their starts being Quality Starts, based on a Game Score of 50 or more as the definition of QS. Porcello has been averaging 5 2/3 innings with a WHIP of 1.24, ERA of 3.86, an average GSc of 51.9 and 5 of his 7 starts being QS. The three Jays have averaged 6 2/3 innings or more with WHIPs at 1.20 or lower, an average GSc of 58.8 and 6 of their 9 starts being quality starts. The three Jays have been throwing 64.4% of their pitches for strikes, while Porcello has thrown 60.2% and the rest 62.4%.
The three Jays have been lasting longer and pitching better. Sure it is early, and we may see the clock strike midnight and things return to being pumpkins and mice. I think Cito Gaston and JP Ricciardi will be quite happy if even two of these three settle in to posting sub-4 ERAs and averaging over 6.5 innings per outing.