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Tigers' Rick Porcello Becomes 4th Active Pitcher with 75 Wins Before Age of 26

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Tigers' Rick Porcello Becomes 4th Active Pitcher with 75 Wins Before Age of 26
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Detroit Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello earned his 75th career victory with Wednesday's complete-game shutout of the Tampa Bay Rays, becoming just the fourth active pitcher to reach the 75-win plateau before turning 26 years old, per ESPN Stats & Info.

Porcello, who won't turn 26 until Dec. 27, joins aces Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw and CC Sabathia on the exclusive list. While he's a solid pitcher in the midst of a career-best season, Porcello doesn't stack up to any of those three, each of whom has won at least one Cy Young Award.

The 25-year-old righty became a full-time member of the Detroit rotation at the beginning of the 2009 season when he was only 20 years old. He has since started at least 27 games in each campaign, assuming he makes three more starts this year.

While most phenoms either flame out or turn into stars, Porcello has settled somewhere in between. He owns a career 4.28 ERA and 4.02 FIP, with a 5.45 K/9 and 2.21 BB/9. He pitches to contact and benefits in the wins column from a strong offensive supporting cast, but he's also shown signs of improvement.

Porcello will almost certainly lower his ERA for a fourth consecutive season, as his 3.10 mark is far ahead of last year's 4.32. Advanced metrics show modest year-to-year improvement, though it's a bit concerning that the right-hander has lost last season's gains in strikeouts.

Still, the overall picture is of a strong mid-rotation pitcher, one who got an early start on his career. Though he doesn't figure to contend for Cy Young Awards, Porcello could end up with a surprisingly high spot on the all-time wins list when all is said and done. It certainly helps that he plays for the Tigers, a team with plenty of pop in the lineup.

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