The Detroit Tigers are the cream of the crop in the American League Central. Most of baseball fans are quick to point out Detroit’s amazing offense as their means for success, but their pitching staff might be the real reason why they will be the American League favorites in 2013. As it stands right now, the Tigers have a fantastic starting rotation that includes Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, and Anibal Sanchez, with the fifth spot of the rotation wide open. While there were MLB rumors surrounding Rick Porcello earlier this off-season, it might be wise to use him as the team’s fifth starter this season.
The 24-year old former first round draft pick hasn’t really lived up to his potential with Detroit, going 48-42 with 4.55 ERA in four seasons. However, Porcello still has room to grow into an effective starting pitcher, even though his pitching repertoire is pretty one-dimensional.
Porcello is basically a harder throwing version of Jon Garland – - meaning that he relies heavily on his sinker to get outs. But Porcello could be a better pitcher if he developed another pitch besides that sinker. One pitch that Porecello throws – but shouldn’t – is his slider. Opponents had an OPS over 1.100 on Porcello’s slider last year, turning every hitter he faced into Barry Bonds if he threw a slider.
Even if the Tigers go with Drew Smyly as their fifth starter, Porcello still has value out of the bullpen, which is probably Detroit’s weakest spot heading 2013. Therefore, there is no need for Detroit to shop Porcello, unless they get a package worth dealing him for.