Rick Porcello

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Rick Porcello
Rick Porcello on June 18, 2009.jpg
Detroit Tigers – No. 21
Starting pitcher
Born: (1988-12-27) December 27, 1988 (age 25)
Morristown, New Jersey
Bats: Right Throws: Right
MLB debut
April 9, 2009 for the Detroit Tigers
Career statistics
(through August 26, 2014)
Win–loss record 76–58
Earned run average 4.27
Strikeouts 628
Teams

Frederick Alfred "Rick" Porcello III (born December 27, 1988) is an American professional baseball pitcher with the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball.[1]

He was drafted 27th overall in the first round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft.[2] His choice of sports agent Scott Boras to advise him may have scared away some teams, knocking him down to the 27th spot even though he was ranked No. 1 among high school prospects entering the draft.[3] Porcello had been described as an "ace" who could be a "bona fide No. 1 starter."[4] He was also known as a "special" pitcher because his manager, Jim Leyland, chose to start him in the 2009 American League Central tie-breaker game over Nate Robertson, Eddie Bonine, and Armando Galarraga. In 2009, he was the youngest player in the major leagues.[5]

Seton Hall Prep career[edit]

Porcello graduated from Seton Hall Preparatory School in West Orange, New Jersey in 2007. In his senior season, he compiled a 10–0 record with 103 strikeouts and a 1.44 ERA in 63 innings pitched.[3] He threw a perfect game on May 12, 2007 against Newark Academy. Porcello had only given up multiple hits once in a game to one player in his high school career (in the 2nd round Greater Newark Tournament[citation needed] during the Seton Hall Prep vs Belleville game).

Although Porcello signed a letter of intent to attend the University of North Carolina, he later declined in order to pursue his professional career in Major League Baseball. Porcello was signed by the Detroit Tigers to a $7.28 million,[6] four-year deal with two one-year options. The total contract is worth $11.1 million, making Porcello the highest-paid high schooler ever.[7] He also received a $3.5 million signing bonus, the second-largest ever given out by the Tigers, surpassed only by the $3.55 million[8] given to 2006 first round pick Andrew Miller.

Minor league career[edit]

Porcello played the entire 2008 season with the Lakeland Flying Tigers, Detroit's advanced class-A affiliate. He earned his first victory against the Tampa Yankees on April 3, 2008. On May 12, he was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Week.[9] On July 19, he took part in a seven inning combined no-hitter against the St. Lucie Mets.[10] Porcello finished the season with a record of 8–6 in 125 innings pitched. His 2.66 ERA was the lowest in the FSL.[11]

Major league career[edit]

2009[edit]

On February 7, 2009, Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski stated that Porcello would be considered for the final spot in the Tigers rotation, pending his spring training performance.[12] Porcello began drawing comparisons to Boston Red Sox ace Josh Beckett, namely from Tigers official Al Avila, who was the Florida Marlins scouting director when the team drafted Beckett in 1999.[13] On April 1, Dombrowski confirmed that Porcello would make the 2009 opening day roster after posting a 2.63 ERA in five Grapefruit League games. Dombrowski stated:

On April 9, Porcello made his Major League debut against Toronto, opposite Blue Jays rookie pitcher Ricky Romero. The game marked the first time in MLB history that two first-round picks faced each other in their respective debuts.[15] Porcello pitched five innings and took the loss for Detroit. He struck out four batters and allowed four runs on eight hits.[16]

On April 19, Porcello earned his first career win in an 8–2 victory over the Seattle Mariners. He allowed one run and struck out three in seven innings with no walks. He retired the final 14 batters he faced.[17]

Porcello won all five games he started in May. He became the youngest pitcher to win five starts in a row since Dwight Gooden won seven in a row in 1985, as well as the first Tiger age 20 or younger to win five consecutive starts since at least 1954 (research prior to that year is incomplete).[18]

On August 11, during a game against the Boston Red Sox, Porcello hit Kevin Youkilis with a pitch. Youkilis charged the mound and threw his helmet right in front of Porcello. Porcello tackled Youkilis, both went down, and both benches cleared. Both players were ejected for the brawl and were each sentenced to a five game suspension.

Despite his youth, Porcello was selected by Tiger manager Jim Leyland to pitch in the one-game tie-breaker playoff for the AL Central Division crown after the Tigers and Minnesota Twins both finished the regular season at 86–76. Porcello allowed two runs (one earned) in 5 23 innings of work, getting a no-decision in the game that the Twins eventually won in 12 innings.[19]

Porcello finished the 2009 season with a 14–9 record and 3.96 ERA. On November 16, it was announced that Porcello finished third in the voting for American League Rookie of the Year, behind Andrew Bailey of the Oakland Athletics and Elvis Andrus of the Texas Rangers.[20]

2010[edit]

Porcello at Dodger Stadium, June 2011

Porcello began the 2010 season with a 4–7 record, accumulating a 6.14 ERA. On June 20, 2010 he was sent down to AAA Toledo.[21] He was called back up on July 17 to face the Indians.[22] In his first start back with the team, he had quite possibly the best start of his career to date, continuing the trend of struggling starters in the Tiger rotation finding success after stints with the Mud Hens. He went eight innings against the Indians, allowing one run, striking out six and walking none.[23]

Porcello finished the 2010 season with a 10–12 record, going 5–1 in his last 7 starts and bringing his season ERA down to 4.92.

2011[edit]

Porcello entered Spring Training competing for a job in the Tigers starting rotation, battling with teammates Phil Coke, Jacob Turner, and Brad Penny for a spot. He ended up in the Tigers rotation for the 2011 season.

He started in 31 games for the Tigers, pitching 182 innings (his career high for a season, through 2013) and accumulating a 14-9 record, 104 strikeouts and a 4.75 ERA.

In the 2011 postseason, Porcello made four appearances (two starts), compiling an 0–1 record with a 4.80 ERA and 12 strikeouts in 15 innings.

2012[edit]

On January 6, 2012, Porcello opted out of an option for 2012 included in his four-year contract, becoming arbitration eligible and under team control through 2015.[24] After gaining Super Two status by reaching the required amount of service time, Porcello gained an extra year of arbitration eligibility, which was 2012. On January 16, Porcello agreed to a one-year, $3.1 million deal with the Tigers, avoiding arbitration. Because he filed for arbitration and did not accept his option for 2012, he earned an extra $1.76 million.[25]

Porcello made 31 starts in 2012, going 10–12 with a 4.59 ERA. He struck out a career-high 107 batters on the season, but also surrendered a career-high 226 hits. Porcello was on the postseason roster for the Tigers, who went all the way to the World Series, but he pitched only 1 13 postseason innings, allowing no runs.

2013[edit]

On January 18, 2013, Porcello signed a one-year, $5.1 million contract with the Tigers to avoid arbitration for a second time.[26] With the Tigers signing fourth starter Aníbal Sánchez to a five-year deal, Porcello competed with Drew Smyly for the fifth and final spot in the Tigers rotation. On March 26, it was announced that Porcello had won the No. 5 starter job over Smyly.[27]

In his Tigers career through 2012, Porcello wore uniform number 48. When the Tigers acquired outfielder Torii Hunter – who also wears number 48 – in the 2012–13 offseason, Hunter made a monetary offer for the number. Porcello, a New Jersey native, instead asked Hunter to donate the money he offered to victims of Hurricane Sandy, and Porcello changed to number 21 for the 2013 season.

In a May 28 game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Porcello pitched eight shutout innings and fanned 11 batters to establish a new career high for strikeouts in a game.[28]

On June 30, Porcello threw a pitch that hit Ben Zobrist of the Tampa Bay Rays. It was widely thought that the pitch was in retaliation for a pitch that Rays reliever Fernando Rodney threw near the head of Tigers superstar Miguel Cabrera the night before. The benches were warned and there were no incidents the remainder of the game, but two days later, MLB suspended Porcello six games and fined him an undisclosed amount. On September 10, Porcello pitched his first career complete game in his 147th major league start, resulting in a 9–1 win over the Chicago White Sox. Porcello retired 14 consecutive batters after escaping a fourth-inning jam that yielded his only run allowed.[29]

Porcello finished the regular season with a 13–8 record, 4.32 ERA, and a career-high 142 strikeouts.

2014[edit]

On January 17, 2014, Porcello and the Tigers avoided arbitration for the third straight season by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $8.5 million.[30]

On June 26, Porcello pitched his first career complete game shutout in a 6–0 win over the Texas Rangers. He gave up just three hits in the game, striking out six and throwing 115 pitches.[31] In his next start on July 1, Porcello pitched a complete game shutout in a 3–0 win over the Oakland Athletics, giving up four hits, striking out zero, walking no one, and throwing 95 pitches. Porcello became the first Tiger to pitch back-to-back shutouts since Jack Morris in 1986. He became the first Major League pitcher to throw a shutout without a walk or a strikeout since Jeff Ballard on August 21, 1989.[32] On a more recent distinction, he was also the first Major League pitcher to throw a no-strikeout shutout since Derek Lowe did for the Indians on May 15, 2012.[33]

On August 20, Porcello pitched his third complete game shutout of the season in a 6–0 win over the Tampa Bay Rays, giving up three hits, striking out four and walking none. Porcello is the first Tiger pitcher to throw at least three shutouts in a season since Jeff Weaver in 2002. Porcello's three complete game shutouts tie him with Henderson Álvarez for the major league lead in shutouts.[34] On August 26, Rick defeated the New York Yankees 5–2 for his 15th victory of the season, establishing a new career high in wins. He had won 14 games in two prior seasons (2009, 2011).[35]

Personal life[edit]

Porcello, a resident of Chester Township, New Jersey, was inducted into the Spanish National Honor Society at Seton Hall Prep.[citation needed] He graduated with a four-year weighted cumulative GPA of 3.94.[36] His older brother Zach is a pitching coach at Seton Hall University. His younger brother Jake is a 2009 graduate of Seton Hall Prep and is currently a pitcher at Seton Hall University and was drafted by the Tigers in the 48th round of the 2009 draft.[37] He received pitching training from the current Morristown Beard School Baseball pitching coach, Mike Sturgeon.

Porcello is the maternal grandson of Sam Dente, who played for the Cleveland Indians in the 1954 World Series.[38]

Pitching style[edit]

Porcello is a groundball pitcher who relies on a sinking two-seam fastball. He throws his two-seamer about half the time, ranging from 90–93 mph. He also has a four-seam fastball in the 91–93 range (tops out at 94–95 mph) and a circle changeup in the low 80s which is used mostly on left-handed hitters. He used to throw an occasional slider, but scrapped it prior to the 2013 season for a more effective upper-70s curveball.[39][40] Porcello's pitching coach Jeff Jones describes the curve as a "change of pace, something that he can throw as a first pitch to a left-handed hitter for a strike."[41]

Porcello's groundball rate in 2013 was 55.3%, the highest of his career and one of the best in the majors, while his flyball rate was only 23.7%.[42]

Awards and recognition[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Schmehl, James (April 1, 2009). "Rick Porcello, Ryan Perry make Tigers' roster; Nate Robertson to bullpen and Zach Miner in rotation". Mlive.com. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  2. ^ MLB.com "2007 Draft Tracker". 
  3. ^ a b Remsberg, Matt (June 6, 2007). "Top 20 high school prospects: Porcello No. 1 heading into Thursday's MLB draft". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved June 25, 2007. 
  4. ^ Reeves, Jim (June 10, 2007). "Postcards From the Ledge: Rangers may regret passing on next Verlander – twice". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Retrieved June 25, 2007. 
  5. ^ "Year-by-Year League Leaders for Youngest Player". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  6. ^ "Tigers, Porcello agree to four-year, $7.28M contract". ESPN. August 15, 2007. Retrieved April 24, 2010. 
  7. ^ Beck, Jason (August 15, 2007). "Tigers sign Porcello, two other picks". MLB.com. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Rick Porcello, Rookie of the Year Material? Let's See". Baseball America. August 4, 2006. Retrieved April 24, 2010. 
  9. ^ a b "Minor League Baseball: Stats: Player". Web.minorleaguebaseball.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  10. ^ Smith, Daren (July 19, 2008). "Porcello No-Hitter". MLB.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  11. ^ "Florida State League: Stats: Stats". minorleaguebaseball.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  12. ^ Beck, Jason (September 26, 2011). "Is now too soon for Porcello?". Detroit.tigers.mlb.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  13. ^ "Is Tigers' Porcello another Beckett? The kid is off to an even better start". Sun-sentinel.com. March 12, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  14. ^ Beck, Jason (September 26, 2011). "Porcello and Perry make roster spots". MLB.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Cabrera homers twice as Tigers beat Blue Jays 5–1". Sports.yahoo.com. April 8, 2009. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  16. ^ Kornacki, Steve (April 9, 2009). "Tigers' Rick Porcello loses debut to Toronto". mlive.com. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  17. ^ Booth, Tim (April 19, 2009). "Tigers' Porcello shuts down Seattle 8–2". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  18. ^ Kornacki, Steve (May 27, 2009). "Rookie Rick Porcello wins fifth consecutive start as Tigers beat Kansas City". Mlive.com. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  19. ^ "2009 AL Central tie-breaker game box score". baseballreference.com. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
  20. ^ Kornacki, Steve (May 27, 2009). "Tigers' Porcello Finishes third in AL Rookie of the Year voting". Mlive.com. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  21. ^ "Porcello sent down to Triple-A Toledo". MLB.com. June 21, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Leyland encouraged with Porcello's progress". MLB.com. July 11, 2010. 
  23. ^ Kornacki, Steve (July 18, 2010). "Not even Rick Porcello's great outing can save Tigers from doubleheader sweep by Indians". MLive.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  24. ^ Schmehl, James. "Tigers' Rick Porcello opts out of contract, becomes eligible for arbitration". MLive.com. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  25. ^ Iott, Chris (January 16, 2012). "Report: Tigers' Rick Porcello agrees to one-year deal to avoid salary arbitration". MLive.com. 
  26. ^ Nicholson-Smith, Ben (January 18, 2013). "Tigers, Rick Porcello Avoid Arbitration". MLB Trade Rumors. 
  27. ^ "Porcello beats out Smyly for Tigers' rotation spot". cbssports.com. March 26, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Pirates' Walker settles pitchers' duel with HR in 11th". cbssports.com. May 29, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Porcello's first complete game boosts Tigers' lead". MLB.com. September 10, 2013. 
  30. ^ Links, Zach (January 17, 2014). "Tigers Avoid Arbitration With Porcello, Jackson". mlbtraderumors.com. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  31. ^ Beck, Jason (June 27, 2014). "Porcello's sinker works up three-hit shutout". MLB.com. Retrieved June 27, 2014. 
  32. ^ Beck, Jason (July 1, 2014). "Porcello extends scoreless streak with shutout of A's". MLB.com. Retrieved July 1, 2014. 
  33. ^ http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/news/article/det/mlb-notebook-rick-porcello-putting-up-zeros?ymd=20140702&content_id=82712378&vkey=news_det
  34. ^ "Porcello pitches 3-hitter, leads Tigers over Rays". cbssports.com. August 20, 2014. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  35. ^ Trister, Noah (August 27, 2014). "Porcello Porcello, Tigers halt Yankees' run with 5-2 win". cbssports.com. Retrieved August 27, 2014. 
  36. ^ "Time's Ticking For Porcello". CSTV.com. June 5, 2007. Retrieved February 19, 2014. 
  37. ^ Steve Kornacki (June 11, 2009). "Tigers draft Rick Porcello's brother Jake". Mlive.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  38. ^ "1954 World Series". Baseball-reference.com. Retrieved October 9, 2011. 
  39. ^ "Player Card: Rick Porcello". Brooks Baseball. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
  40. ^ White, Scott (June 11, 2013). "Rick Porcello moving up the rankings". cbssports.com. 
  41. ^ Laurila, David (May 28, 2012). "Three Scouting Reports: Jeff Jones on Fister, Porcello and Smyly". Fangraphs. Retrieved August 7, 2012. 
  42. ^ Roberts, Jeff (March 17, 2014). "2014 Preseason Prediction #9 - Rick Porcello". eyeontigers.blogspot.com. Retrieved April 21, 2014. 
  43. ^ "Rick Porcello, 2006 AFLAC All-American High School Baseball Classic". Retrieved June 25, 2007. 
  44. ^ Hofmann, Joe (June 1, 2007). "Chester's Porcello is best in U.S.". Daily Record. Retrieved June 25, 2007. 
  45. ^ "Seton Hall Prep's Porcello wins Gatorade honor". USA Today. May 31, 2007. Retrieved June 7, 2007. 
  46. ^ "Tigers hurler Porcello selected as AL's top rookie for May". [dead link]
  47. ^ "Detroit Sports Broadcasters' Association tabs righthander as Tigers top rookie". November 5, 2009. 

External links[edit]

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Clayton Kershaw
2008
Youngest Player in
Major League Baseball

2009
Succeeded by
Starlin Castro
2010
Preceded by
Travis Snider
Youngest Player in the
American League

2009
Succeeded by
Chris Sale