Rick Porcello's Case for American League Rookie of the Year

Austin DrakeSenior Analyst IOctober 14, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 06:  Starting pitcher Rick Porcello #48 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the American League Tiebreaker game against  the Minnesota Twins on October 6, 2009 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

The Detroit Tigers' 2007 first round selection surprised many when he made the team directly out of spring training. Jim Leyland, on the other hand, was not. His love of big power arms fit Rick Porcello's game to a tee.
Rick Porcello, a 20-year-old native of Morristown, New Jersey and just two years removed from high school, made an impact on the Detroit Tigers season and it shouldn't go unnoticed by Major League Baseball and its fans.
Just imagine, two years ago Porcello was sitting in a classroom, taking notes of a lecture and getting homework. Now he has a season of professional baseball under his belt and is looking for some serious hardware.
2009 had a rocky start for Porcello, as he went 1-4 with a 6.23 ERA to start his major league career in April. His first career win came against the Seattle Mariners, in which he went seven innings while allowing just one earned on five hits.
The month of May was by far Porcello's best month of the season. The 6'0" righty went 5-0 in five quality starts and dropped his inflated ERA to a very respectable 3.48.
The news had broke, Rick Porcello was the bee's knees in Detroit.
Not only was Porcello dominating his American League opponents he was overpowering the National as well.
In four interleague starts, Porcello went 3-0 by defeating the Pirates and two playoff teams, the Rockies and the Cardinals, giving up no more then two earned runs in any of those starts.
It was around this point in the season where Porcello's main competition for Rookie of the Year would emerge. His name?
Gordon Beckham.
Beckham was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and attended the University of Georgia as he was a national standout at shortstop. The Chicago White Sox made him their selection in the first round of the 2008 MLB amateur draft.
The White Sox third baseman was slow out of the gate, but by July we was hitting full stride while Porcello was struggling. Not hitting six innings in six straight starts.
From July 30 until August 5, Beckham was hitting .365 with 16 runs batted in 71 plate appearances.
In head-to-head match ups, Beckham got the best of Porcello. Hitting a solo home run and drawing a walk in two plate appearances.
The season had reached the stretch run and the Tigers were in a battle for first with the Minnesota Twins, Edwin Jackson was becoming more human and Detroit needed Porcello.
He didn't disappoint.
In September and October, Detroit's number 48 went 3-1, dropping his ERA back down 22 points to 3.96. His final game of the season, was also the Tigers last game. He went 5.2 strong innings against the Twins in the American League Central tiebreaker game.
The 5.2 innings led to one earned run on four hits, while he struck out eight. Rick Porcello seriously came to play with the entire baseball world watching.
A.L. Rookie of the Year Candidates
Rick Porcello (DET): 14-9, 3.96 ERA, 89 K, 1.336 WHIP, 11 QS.
Gordon Beckham (CHW): .270, 14 HR, 63 RBI, .808 OPS.
Ricky Romero (TOR): 13-9, 4.30 ERA, 141 K, 1.522 WHIP, 15 QS.