Rick Porcello has gotten a bad wrap over the years. Unjustified in my opinion. Other pitchers have the luxury of seasoning in the minors. But The Tigers were in need of pitching talent in 2009 and rushed him to the majors. He was just 20 years old in his rookie year and instantly contributed with 14 wins. He has had to develop while facing the pressures of pitching in the American League and still managed to contribute.
So why does everyone want to throw Rick Porcello onto the trade block?
The Verlander effect. Rick Porcello has always been in the shadow of Justin Verlander. Fans have always compared the two. Both pitchers were first round picks. Both were thought of as major prospects. Both came to the majors in their early 20’s after a very short stay in the minors. So it is easy to see why fans always hold Rick Porcello to the standard of Justin Verlander. It is unfair to hold Porcello to that standard considering Justin Verlander may be the best pitcher ever to where the old English D.
Seems Rick Porcello’s biggest baseball crime is NOT being Justin Verlander. Don’t misunderstand. I know Porcello has his weaknesses. That said he is a very solid number 4 pitcher. As a late rotation pitcher Rick has posted double digit wins in his first four seasons. He has done this despite having a pitching style that is heavily dependent on defense. Not one of the Tigers strengths. That might have something to do with Porcello’s inflated career ERA (4.55) and WHIP (1.417).
Although he has a high career ERA, there are reasons to be optimist about the numbers in 2013. Porcello is getting more swings and misses as he fanned 107 in 2012, a career high. He is also giving up less long balls also setting a career mark in 2012 with (16).
Rick Porcello has always worked hard to improve. According to reports he has spent time developing his slider in the off-season. When that slider is effective it gives him a bonafide strike out pitch. Something he was missing in the first two years of his career. Considering all the factors the Detroit Tigers are better with Rick Porcello. Look for him to be a major contributor to a championship season in 2013.