Rick Porcello, Rookie of the Year Material? Let's See

Austin DrakeSenior Analyst IJune 13, 2009

SEATTLE - APRIL 19:  Starting pitcher Rick Porcello #48 of the Detroit Tigers pitches in an 8-2 win over the Seattle Mariners on April 19, 2009 at Safeco Field in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

(All stats are as of 6/13/09)

The Detroit Tigers found a late-first round gem in 2007. With the 27th pick of the First-Year Player draft, the Tigers selected right-handed pitcher, Fredrick Alfredo Porcello, from Seton Hall Prep. in New Jersey.

Now called, "Rick" Porcello, he started his major league career in Lakeland, Florida with Detroit's advanced Single-A club, the Flying Tigers. In the 2008 season Rick went 8-6 with a killer 2.66 ERA in 125.0 innings of work and a 2.18:1 K:BB ratio.

The 2008 season was a solid start to his career in baseball. He was ranked by Baseball America as the best prospect in the Tiger's organization, and one of the top in the entire nation. Detroit knew this, and wasted no time giving him a fair shot at the big leagues when Spring Training 2009 rolled around.

As Detroit gave Porcello his chance, he came through with a great Spring, along with other young arm, Ryan Perry, a 2008 First-Year Player draft first-rounder.

The fantastic Spring led to a roster spot for Rick Porcello, as he started Opening Day 2009 as the fourth starter in the Tigers' rotation. Since then, Porcello has been everything Detroit has hoped and prayed for, and may be the front runner for American League Rookie of the Year, so far.

Porcello has pitched better then most Rookies over the past few years. So, we'll see how he matches up against the four most recent Rookie of the Year pitchers through their first 12 starts of their Rookie season.

**Stats below are through 12 starts of player's rookie season**

Rick Porcello
W/L: 7-4     IP: 68.0     ERA: 3.71
WHIP: 1.265     K: 38     BB: 21

Hideo Nomo
(1995 NL Rookie of the Year)
W/L: 6-1     IP: 83.1     ERA: 2.05
WHIP: 1.083     K: 109     BB: 41

Jason Jennings
(2002 NL Rookie of the Year)
W/L: 7-2     IP: 69.0     ERA: 4.63
WHIP: 1.362     K: 53     BB: 19

Dontrelle Willis
(2003 NL Rookie of the Year)
W/L: 8-1     IP: 77.1     ERA: 1.98
WHIP: 1.154     K: 75     BB: 23

Justin Verlander
(2006 AL Rookie of the Year)
W/L: 7-4     IP: 78.0     ERA: 3.35
WHIP: 1.128     K: 47     BB: 22

As you can see by these stats, Porcello ranks near the top in some categories, but also ranks near the bottom at others. While he may have tied for the worst record of these guys, he also has the second least walks allowed and also one of the best WHIP numbers.

Current teammate to Porcello, Justin Verlander has the closest numbers to him. They both posted a 7-4 record through 12 starts. Verlander also only had one more walk then Porcello and they both have an ERA in the mid-3.00s.

The best of these five players, is undoubtably Hideo Nomo, a product of Osaka, Japan. With sick WHIP and K:BB numbers, this guy has had a solid career with seven different Major League teams, most of his years with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

**Stats below are through 6/13/09**

Rick Porcello
W/L: 7-4     IP: 68.0     ERA: 3.71
WHIP: 1.265     K: 38     BB: 21

Matt Palmer, Los Angeles Angels
W/L: 6-0     IP: 50.1     ERA: 4.11
WHIP: 1.270     K: 30     BB: 20

Andrew Bailey, Oakland Athletics
W/L: 4.1     IP: 38.1     ERA: 2.58
WHIP: 1.020     K: 45     BB: 16

Trevor Cahill, Oakland Athletics
W/L: 3-5     IP: 73.1     ERA: 4.17
WHIP: 1.395     K: 34     BB: 28

At the beginning of the 2009 season, most people would have predicted David Price to be on this list of best A.L. Rookie Pitchers. Price hasn't had much time this season in the bigs, through 19.0 innings he is 1-0 with a 2.37 ERA.

Rick Porcello has his competition easily beat out so far this season.

Matt Palmer is a 30-year old rookie, at 6-0 he has had a solid season, but his 4.11 ERA dosen't help his cause.

Andrew Bailey and Trevor Cahill are the dominant rookie duo in Oakland, but Bailey is a relief pitcher, and will really have to keep up his fantastic work to keep up with Porcello. While Cahill has pitched decently and has ate up a ton of innings for the A's, his record and ERA dosen't even compare to Rick Porcello.

So, my predictions are in. If Rick Porcello can keep pitching the way he is now, I see him with a 18-12 record at the end of the season. That dominance will win he American League Rookie of the Year, and he can join the company of Justin Verlander and Dontrelle Willis, both teammates of his, to get that award.


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