One thing became very apparent to manager Jim Leyland, general manager Dave Dombrowski, and many other front office members in the Detroit Tigers' organization at the end of spring training this year: the future is now.
At the head of the line were young, heralded rookie pitchers Rick Porcello and Ryan Perry.
Rick Porcello, 20, and Ryan Perry, 22, began the season with the big club and so far, the decision is paying dividends.
Both have had ups and downs, but generally they are contributing and have helped the Tigers (15-13) to second place in the AL Central in the second month of the season.
The future certainly looks bright.
Perry, working solely out of the bullpen, has been placed in high-intensity situations early on and has shown the maturity of a veteran. Leyland has clearly put his faith behind Perry and it has paid off.
The rookie out of the University of Arizona has struggled with control issues in several outings throughout the 2009 season thus far (11 walks in 13 games) but still has yet to yield a home run and has a very respectable ERA of 2.92. As if the rookie season wasn't hard enough, Perry is still learning his secondary pitches all while facing some of the most feared hitters in baseball (Victor Martinez, Grady Sizemore, Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye to name a few) within the AL Central.
Talk about on the job training.
Porcello, the youngest member of the Tigers, is also learning real fast just what it takes to be a big-league pitcher.
The first-round draft pick of the Tigers in 2007, Porcello, has been compared to Josh Beckett, Justin Verlander, Roy Oswalt and other ace starters. He has been picked on many insider lists to be the next big thing when it comes to pitching.
Even with all of that pressure, Porcello (2-3) has proved early on that he's ready to contribute for the Tigers.
The fireballer, who was drafted out of high school, picked up his first big-league win in his second start (against the Seattle Mariners) and recently also captured his first victory at home allowing no runs and just four hits in seven innings of work against the Minnesota Twins.
While most people who are 20-year-olds are at college enjoying their time and working their way towards a career, Porcello has already starting his career.
Of course, most people don't have the ability to throw 99 MPH out of high school either.
The Tigers, who were a major disappointment last year when they finished dead last in the AL Central, seem to already be making strides to get back to the top of the division.
Although several veterans such as Verlander, Edwin Jackson, Miguel Cabrera, Curtis Granderson and Brandon Inge have been key in the early success this season, Porcello and Perry have proved to be quality contributors as well.
If Porcello continues to shut down opponents and Perry keeps bringing the eye-popping fastball and composure, there is no question that these two should remain in the Detroit clubhouse all season and many more to come.
Like I said, the future is now.
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