Miner Hit hard; Is Porcello the answer?


This afternoon as the Tigers took on the St. Louis Cardinals, Zach Miner had a real oppurtunity to etch his name onto the true fifth spot contender list. After seven hits, three runs and three innings pitched, The sinker balling righty might have scratched his name on the bullpen wall.

Meanwhile, talk of Rick Porcello heading north is heating up. The youngster was poised, confident and didn’t give up a run, despite five hits and only one strikeout against the Florida Marlins on Monday. But at 20 years old, I still don’t feel the former first round pick is ready for the pressures of Major League Baseball.

Porcello is a major talent, but his 2009 projections (check them out here) show he wouldn’t be ready. Sure, the numbers don’t tell the whole story, but Fangraphs believes that he will start 17 games and have an ugly 5.70 ERA, with only 34 strikeouts and 42 walks. This is what I am worried about. Rushing such an elite talent.

We have watched it happen in the other Central division. Take the Cincinatti Reds. Two of their top pitching prospects in 2008, Homer Bailey and Johnny Cueto, were rushed to the forefront. Cueto responded early in his call up, but as the season winded down, his control was all over the place. Homer Bailey went 0-6 with a 7.93 ERA in 8 games last season.

Porcello has never pitched above A ball. Why not give him some time at AA, no matter how well he pitches this Spring? Remember in 2003 when talented pitchers, such as Jeremy Bonderman, Mike Maroth and Nate Robertson were rushed to the scene? Granted, they were not this talented, but they didn’t have success and have history of lingering injury for a reason.

When it all comes down to it though, Jim Leyland has to take who he is most comfortable with.

Tiger Notes:

— Carlos Guillen has had the most impact of any Tiger on the WBC map. The Tiger outfielder has two homers and two RBIs. Meanwhile, Magglio and Miguel Cabrera both have zero hits in a combined sixteen at bats.

— Jeremy Bonderman and Joel Zumaya will both pitch in a simulated game on Saturday. Both have had Shoulder trouble this Spring Training. What I find interesting about this simulated game is that Kyle Bloom will throw against about a dozen lefties to see if he is in the Tigers plans for 2009. Bloom has pitched well this spring. (Mlive.com)

–Trying to find a spot for Jeff Larish, manager Jim Leyland decided to try him out in right field in today’s spring training game against St. Louis.

–Ryan Perry continues to impress. in one inning today, the gun slingin’ reliever gave up only one hit. Fellow reliever Fu-Te Ni gave up a run on two walks in one inning of work, fresh off his trip to Tokyo.

(Box Score Here)

–The Tigers had the third highest first-day ticket sales since opening Comerica Park ten years ago. Not bad for a last place finish in 2008.