Results tagged ‘ Rick Porcello ’
Back from some time off with some news on the back end of Rick Porcello’s move to Triple-A Toledo. Jay Sborz was reportedly told after the game that he’s heading up to the Tigers. Good work by the Toledo Blade site for tracking that down. Still don’t know Porcello’s replacement in the rotation, but at least we know his replacement on the roster for now.
Rick Porcello will get some extra time to try to work his way out of his sophomore slump. The Tigers will skip him in their next turn through the rotation to give him enough time for three side sessions.
The hope, obviously, is that those sessions will help him find the life again on his sinker for ground-ball outs and stronger outings than what he has suffered recently, taking him from Rookie of the Year consideration in 2009 to one of the higher ERAs in baseball in 2010.
“I think the No. 1 thing he needs to accomplish is to get the sinker back,” Leyland said Friday afternoon. “I think you have to go one step at a time. I think that’s the first step. We are going to try and accomplish that and try to slow him down a little bit. You always have ideas and thoughts and stuff. We just haven’t been able to slow him down. He’s kind of jumping at the hitters getting out there.”
Porcello had no drop on his sinker in his last start Wednesday, and the White Sox made him pay dearly for it. After Porcello gave up only one hit the first time through the White Sox batting order, he retired only one of the eight batters he faced he faced in what ended up being a seven-run fourth inning. He finished with eight earned runs on eight hits over 3 1/3 innings with one strikeout and two home runs.
The damage raised Porcello’s ERA from 5.25 to 6.09 on the season. He has allowed 89 hits over 65 innings, a humbling reminder that for all his success, he’s still a 21-year-old trying to compete.
“We need to iron this situation out,” Leyland said. “He’s throwing way too many balls from the belt up, where last year he threw form the belt down, with a much better sink. He’s getting more run on his ball than sink right now.”
With Monday a scheduled off-day for the Tigers, Leyland had the leeway to keep everyone else on four days’ rest and push Porcello back to next Saturday against Arizona. Max Scherzer will start Tuesday against Washington, followed by Jeremy Bonderman, Armando Galarraga and Justin Verlander.
Just finished watching a simulated game that featured Rick Porcello getting in his scheduled work. He did fine, went to his allotted pitch count. Others to pitch in the game included Macay McBride, trying to work his way back from elbow problems that limited him to one inning over the past two years. Also pitching was Austin Wood, the former University of Texas reliever best known for throwing 169 pitches in an NCAA Tournament game last spring before Detroit drafted him. He threw a solid inning.
The pitching rotation still hasn’t been filled out, but at least we know when the guys who are set will start. Jim Leyland announced this morning that Rick Porcello will start the home opener when the Tigers host the Indians on Friday, April 9. Max Scherzer will start the second game of the season against the Royals on Wednesday, April 7, after Justin Verlander starts Opening Day on April 5.
That leaves two openings that will depend on who’s pitching.
One would figure that if Jeremy Bonderman gets a spot, he would appear to be more likely to start the series finale at Kansas City April 8. Bonderman would logically fit into the series finale at Kansas City April 8, but he still has a three-game suspension looming over him from his pitch that hit Minnesota’s Delmon Young in the final week of last season. Bonderman immediately appealed the suspension, and I haven’t heard anything yet about a hearing. Unless it’s reduced, he can’t pitch at all during the KC series, which would put someone else in line to pitch that game.
You could say it’s the first major assignment for the 21-year-old Porcello, but starting the tiebreaker game against Minnesota last October was pretty big. Leyland said he wanted Scherzer’s first start as a Tiger to be on the road rather than in the added energy of a home atmosphere.
Rick Porcello finished third in AL Rookie of the Year balloting, just released. A’s closer Andrew Bailey earned 13 of the 28 first-place votes. Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus finished second.
Porcello received seven first-place votes, eight votes for second place and five votes for third. He was left off of eight writers ballots. But then, even Bailey was left off of four.
In case you missed it (sorry, but blog program wasn’t working earlier today), Rick Porcello won the Tigers Rookie of the Year award today. It wasn’t really a surprise, but it was another moment to appreciate what he did this year after he surprised a lot of people by making the rotation out of spring training in the first place.
As reported many times already, Porcello is just the fourth pitcher since 1970 to put up a 14-win season before his 21st birthday, the last being Doc Gooden. What stood out to me, though, was the way he adjusted his game after a midseason slump and thrived down the stretch for it. He went 5-2 with a 3.07 ERA over his final 13 starts, allowing just 66 hits over 73 1/3 innings. Just 18 of those hits went for extra bases. He lost only one of his final eight starts, and his 5 2/3 innings with eight strikeouts in the AL Central tiebreaker gave Detroit a shot at winning the division before falling in extra innings.
Want to know what else was impressive about that stretch? Look at his ground ball to fly ball ratio. He had one of highest ground-ball rates in the American League for the season, but he was close to even for the final two months. He went from throwing sinker after sinker to mixing in more four-seam fastballs down the stretch, partly at catcher Gerald Laird’s suggestion, and batters popped them up.
Did the Tigers manage him well? Sure, and they deserve credit for it, especially pitching coach Rick Knapp. But this kid worked well with Laird and made adjustments, and he showed an aptitude well ahead of his time. He probably won’t get the credit he deserves for that when AL Rookie of the Year voting comes out next week — too bad, because the Tigers would’ve lost the division before Game 163 without him — but it’s going to be fun to look at this season’s AL rookie crop in a few years and see where Porcello stands.
Jason Beck / MLB.com
So what happens every November, right around the time that the Bill James Handbook comes out, is that they send out an email to writers detailing what they project for the next season from certain players on their team. Generally, it’s a look at last season’s stats and a projection whether the player will build on those numbers or regress.
This year’s version is out, and the projections include a 22-homer season in 439 at-bats from Ryan Raburn, But as Bill James admitted in the email, they can’t predict or project playing time.
The projection on Raburn includes a .276 average, 73 RBIs and 10 stolen bases. What interested me, though, were projections for some of the hitters. Curtis Granderson, under their scenario, would bat .275 with 27 homers, 76 RBIs, 17 stolen bases and an .844 OPS — keeping a lot of his home-run power while still getting a bounceback on batting average. Magglio Ordonez is projected to bat .311 with 17 HRs and 84 RBIs.
On the pitching side, Rick Porcello would get a bit of a sophomore slump, going 10-11 with a 4.25 ERA in 195 innings.
Still a few weeks to go until the Rookie of the Year award from baseball writers. However, various other publications have come out with their own choices, and Rick Porcello isn’t winning any of them. White Sox third baseman Gordon Beckham won AL honors from The Sporting News, while Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen won Baseball America’s Major League Rookie of the Year award. Porcello didn’t even make the list of three AL finalists for the Players Choice award as voted on by players; Beckham, Jeff Niemann and Elvis Andrus beat him out there.
To be fair, a lot of the credit given to Porcello this year was more about what he showed for his age, rather than what he has done as a rookie. But without Porcello, the Tigers wouldn’t have led the AL Central for as long as they did, and they almost certainly would’ve been in trouble in the division tiebreaker game a few weeks ago. Porcello’s performance in that game may or may not bolstered his award hopes, depending on how many writers waited until then to vote. Ballots were due when the postseason began, which technically wasn’t until the next day.
Depending on what happens tonight with rookie Alfredo Figaro in his first start in three months, the question among more than a few Tigers fans will be why manager Jim Leyland didn’t just stay with his core starters and use either Justin Verlander or Rick Porcello on short rest. After all, Porcello was on schedule to start Saturday anyway until Monday’s rainout pushed back that outing.
According to Leyland, it wasn’t a consideration. Judging from his remarks, their futures beyond this season were the overwhelming consideration.
“I’m not going to pitch Verlander on three days rest, and I’m not going to pitch that kid [Porcello],” Leyland said.
That would be the same decision, Leyland said, even if they were a game back in the race. Wouldn’t happen.
“Not with those two kids. I wouldn’t do it. We’ve got our opportunity. We’ve got enough guys. It’s not the ideal situation having to pitch a rookie like this, but we’ve won two or three big games like this with [Eddie] Bonine pitching.”