Thursday, June 07, 2007

Tigers score big again in the draft

I never thought I would say this but I’m starting to get an idea of what it’s like to be a Yankees or Red Sox fan. The Tigers are still along way from those two payrolls but because of a commitment to spend whatever it takes by Mike Ilitch, the Tigers now get to act like the Yankees and Red Sox in the first round of the MLB Draft. Ilitch’s commitment landed the Tigers Rick Porcello who was widely considered the second best pitcher in the draft and the best high school player at any position. Porcello was passed up by 26 teams before the Tigers selected him. Even the Detroit Tigers Official Web Site was bamboozled by the Tigers’ good fortune. It had Porcello going second overall to the Kansas City Royals in a mock draft posted on Thursday morning.

Porcello was compared to Josh Beckett by the Baseball Tonight crew but the Tigers liken him to Justin Verlander. The Baseball Tonight folks also predicted that it would not take Porcello long to make it through the Tigers system since he has four “plus” pitches already. The Tigers could be looking at a Bonderman/Verlander/Miller/Porcello rotation within three years. The addition of Porcello also allows the Tigers to become more active in trade discussions. Dallas Trahern and Jair Jurrjens are two of the top prospects in the organization. Parting with them doesn’t seem as damaging now.

I’ve been hard on Ilitch in the past for letting the Tigers rot into the worst franchise in professional sports. But, he is doing an awful lot to make up for it. He is the reason the Tigers signed Justin Verlander after it looked like he was asking for too much money. He is the reason the Tigers selected Andrew Miller last season when every other team with a top-five pick passed on him because of “signability” issues. He is now the reason why the Tigers ended up with the second best player in the draft with the 27th pick. Ilitch has allowed his people to build a championship baseball team. Aside from hiring the right people—which Ilitch has certainly done—the only thing he can do is make money not an issue. He has done that and the results have been astounding. I can say with confidence that the Tigers have the brightest future of any team in MLB and that was the case before today. Things just keep getting better.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Drafting Porcello must have sent a shockwave through the rest of the league. In fact Baseball America even stated that the Porcello pick was the first pick in a while that made everyone in their office go, "Ooooooh."

While there are comparisons to Verlander for build and style, and Beckett for high school to ace projectability, the guy I'm looking at to guage him against might be Homer Bailey.

Bailey was the 7th overall pick in the 2004 draft by the Cincinnati Reds. He and Porcello are the same build, both with fastballs consistantly in the mid 90's, where scouts raved that the ball exploded out of both these pitchers hands. They both had plus curveballs, and both were reported to have comfortable, fluid deliveries.

The main reason I bring up Bailey's name is that he will be making his first start in the Majors this weekend. While other HS pitchers have been drafted high the last few years, not many have been as highly touted as Bailey or Porcello. Also, no other HS pitcher drafted since the 2003 draft I believe has made it to the big leagues yet. Drafted in 04, Bailey signed in time to only pitch 12 innings. He followed that up with 100 innings in 05, and 140 innings in 06. The same projection for Porcello would be to pitch some this year in the rookie leagues. Spend the 08 season in A ball, and then spend the 09 season in AA ball, with sometime in 2010 being his MLB eta.

We've seen Felix Hernandez make it to the MLB after only 306 minor league innings. Bailey will have logged 313 minor league innings. Beckett only needed 200 minor league innings before he reached the bigs (He was 19 when drafted, and signed late).

The idea of Bonderman, Verlander, Miller, Porcello in the same rotation by 2010 is scary! Bondo and Verlander would only be 27!

Porcello's addition could also help bring us a bat. Before the draft, speculation of a Teixeira to the Tigers deal seemed centered on a deal that would include Maybin and Miller going to Texas. That was never going to happen, however a deal that could include two of Trahern/De La Cruz/Jurrjens would have to be given serious consideration. Trahern and Jurrjens are both only 21 and successful in AA.


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