Rick Porcello and the Detroit Tigers Rotation: The Future of MLB Pitchers

By Brandon Bell
Rick Porcello
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Are starting pitchers getting Tommy John surgery because of throwing too many pitches? Have MLB games been too long and boring the past few seasons? These are two of the most debatable topics in the MLB today.

The Detroit Tigers have become the anomaly of the MLB in recent years. Their recent addition of ace starting pitcher David Price to their rotation fits the mold of the anomaly perfectly. The two statistics that the Tigers are different than other teams are with their starting pitchers and the amount of innings per start, as well as pitches per plate appearance.

The Detroit Tigers starting rotation averages 6.7 innings per start. The rotation includes David Price, Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, Anibal Sanchez, and Rick Porcello. These pitchers go deep into the game, giving their below average bullpen less innings to account for.

In today’s day game against the New York Yankees, Rick Porcello has gotten off to a fast start in the first inning, needing only seven pitches to get through it. His season average is 6.71 innings per start, just behind David Price with the most on their rotation. Rick Porcello averages fewer than 100 pitches per start and gets reasonably deep into games for being a “pitch-to-contact” type of pitcher. The reason for this is because of his relatively low amount of pitches per plate appearance.

In today’s MLB, fans believe the game takes too long to sit through entirely. MLB statistics suggest they are much longer now than ever. Rick Porcello and the other starting pitchers for the Tigers are different. MLB games today need less walks and more hits to attract more fans to watch and attend the games. Rick Porcello and David Price are those pitchers that the MLB needs because they give up similar hits as other elite pitchers do. But, they walk a relatively low number of batters per game.

The statistics of today’s Yankees versus Tigers game are relevant to this topic. Rick Porcello has pitched seven innings today with 110 pitches, similar to his season averages. Although the Yankees starting pitcher today, Shane Greene, pitched eight innings needing just 98 pitches, the game lasted only two hours and 49 minutes.

You might suggest because the game was only 1-0 in favor of the Yankees, that it was a relatively fast game, however, when you have pitchers who walk batters below the league average, games typically go faster. The MLB needs faster games that are close from beginning to end, and that’s what the Detroit Tigers starting rotation gives you.

Brandon Bell is a writer for the Philadelphia Phillies on RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @BDB92, or “like him” on Facebook

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