The Detroit Tigers have been trying to make a decision on their fifth starter all Spring Training, and with a little less than one week to go they have made it. Rick Porcello will be the fifth starter to begin the season over Drew Smyly.
The young left hander Porcello had a strong spring after a down season in 2012 where he won only 10 games and had an ERA over 4.50. This spring he made six appearances and went 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA not walking a single batter in a big league game. He’s looked great so far, and as the leader of the Porcello “hater” club I actually have liked his improvement this year, but am still skeptical if he can past the fifth inning, let alone the whole season.
The biggest thing that I’ve liked about his approach this season is that he’s stopped throwing his slider and is just throwing his curveball. I believe that in general the curveball is a more affective pitch, of course if it’s thrown correctly. Not to mention he’s a pitcher that seems to be overwhelmed at times and throwing one less pitch gives him less to think about.
I can’t tell you how many times I saw Porcello pitching great last year, but then fall apart once the fifth or sixth inning rolled around. I don’t know if it’s a stamina issue or if the batters just catch on to his stuff by then. Regardless, he needs to find a way to get deeper into games and not give up a huge inning before handing it over to the bullpen.
Even with his name being thrown around in trade talks all offseason and even into Spring Training, he still went out there and handled his business and I have to give him credit for that. He has some great potential, and if he can develop a putout pitch, he could be even better.