It is always fun and exciting to watch the guy tagged as the "can't miss prospect." It is even "sexy" in a way, to watch him try to progress to the big leagues.
Porcello is only 20 years old. This reminds me of 2003 when the Tigers had a 20-year-old named Jeremy Bonderman work his way onto the big league roster and become a fixture of the Tigers rotation.
However, there are some things standing in Porcello's way that make me say he is not ready for Detroit.
Most of the rotation is already set for the Tigers: Verlander, Galarraga, Bonderman, and Jackson. The fifth spot is open and has competition from three veterans who have had past success: Nate Robertson, Dontrelle Willis, and Zach Miner. Not putting either Robertson or Willis in the rotation creates a problem with...
Robertson and Willis combined are owed a total of $39 million over the next two years. That would make for some very expensive long relief. Willis is turning in good performances so far this spring, so look for him to have the upper hand in this competition.
Sure, Porcello could turn out to be the next Tim Lincecum. How great would that be? That is no reason to rush him. He is only 20 after all, and he still has a lot of pitching left ahead of him.
Porcello has only 125 innings of professional experience, and that was in A ball. Leave him in the Major League camp as long as possible to face some good, veteran MLB hitters, but when the season opens, send him to Toledo.
Porcello is represented by Scott Boras. This factors into why he fell so low in the first round of the draft that the Tigers were able to get him. Boras demanded a lot of money for him, and got it. This is the best argument for keeping him in the minors: Don't start the arbitration clock ticking now on someone who is nowhere close to being a finished Major League product. Does Andrew Miller ring a bell, anyone?
Do not get me wrong, I would love to see Porcello wearing the old English "D" and mowing down opposing hitters. That day is not today, though. It will be soon enough.
Rick, you're gonna do big things for this franchise one day, but let's put you in Toledo for now to make you into an even better pitcher. Your chance to shine will not be very far away.