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.