Our series of player grades for the 2014 Detroit Tigers continues as we take a look at the breakout season of Rick Porcello.
Rick Porcello broke into Major League Baseball in 2009 at the age of 20 and has had his share of struggles and growing pains for the better part of five seasons. Between the 2009 and 2013 seasons, he had shown flashes of becoming a really solid pitcher for the Tigers, but was not able to do it on a consistent basis. All of that changed for Porcello in the 2014 season. Not only did Porcello have a career year for the Tigers in 2014, but he was also able to take the next step in his evolution as strong starting pitcher in the big leagues.
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Coming into the 2014 season, Rick Porcello was slotted in the fourth spot of the starting rotation for the Detroit Tigers. He started the season off strong with an 8-2 record by the end of May. Going into the all-star break, Porcello’s name was being thrown around as a potential first time all-star selection. At the break, he had compiled a 12-5 record and a 3.39 ERA, with two complete games under his belt. To the surprise of many, Porcello was an all-star snub, even after putting up the best first half numbers of his career.
The second half of the season started off well for Porcello. He posted a 2.78 ERA in July and a 2.51 ERA in August. As the Tigers began their stretch run at the beginning of September, the wheels fell off a bit for Porcello. In the month of September, he posted a 0-4 record with a 6.20 ERA. Unfortunately, Porcello would not get a chance to redeem himself in the playoffs as Detroit was not able to make it to Game 4 of the ALDS. That’s too bad because Porcello was 2-0 against Baltimore in 2014, posting a 1.42 ERA and .178 BAA.
Rick Porcello definitely had a breakout season in 2014. Let’s take a look at some of his career best numbers in 2014.
- 15 wins
- 3.43 ERA
- 1.231 WHIP
- 204.2 innings pitched
- 3 complete games
In addition to these impressive numbers, Porcello was especially strong away from Comerica Park in 2014. He finished with a 9-6 record and 2.66 ERA on the road this past season. He also posted a .254 BAA and threw two of his complete games on the road. Porcello was not as sharp at home in 2014, but his stellar pitching on the road helped the team to finish with their best road record in a few seasons.
Sep 16, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Rick Porcello (21) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
In his six-year Major League Baseball career, Porcello has won at least 10 games every season. While that is an impressive feat, he was not able to breakthrough as a pitcher until the 2014 season. With an injury to Anibal Sanchez and a rough season from Justin Verlander, Porcello’s breakout season came at a perfect time. Without Porcello stepping up big time in 2014, the Tigers would not have won their fourth consecutive AL Central title.
Rick Porcello will now look to build on his career best 2014 season. Going into 2015, he will be counted on to perform at a high level to help the Tigers accomplish their ultimate goal of winning the World Series.
What grade would you give Rick Porcello for the 2014 season? Let us know in the comments section below.