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Matt Shepard

Shep's Take: Porcello Challenges You

 

Can you change your mind? Is it possible for you to admit you were wrong?

I'm not saying fans who have criticized and given up on Tigers starter Rick Porcello should admit a mistake, because his 2014 season is still young and he still has much to prove. But he is doing some things this year that should be forcing some folks to reconsider their position that he's been a bust?

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I've said for years that Porcello is still young and still learning. 

Our society doesn't want to hear that, or even consider it as a reason (not excuse) for his development. But it's true. We have to keep in mind that Porcello is still just 25. He debuted in the big leagues at the age of 20 and he's posted double digit winning seasons every year. 

He's off to the best start of his career, at 6-1, with personal best numbers in ERA and WHIP. He is not Justin Verlander, nor is he Max Scherzer. But he isn't Aaron Poreda either.

Oh you don't know who Poreda is? Well he was drafted ahead of Porcello in the 2007 draft. Therein lies the problem Tigers fans have with Porcello. He was a first round pick, and signed for big money, so we immediately think he should be a Cy Young candidate.

But he's not. Fair enough. Just remember the baseball draft is not like the NFL or NBA draft where first rounders start contributing right away.

That 2007 draft was littered with talent: Mike Moustakas, Matt Weiters, Jason Heyward and Pete Kozma. It also featured big name pitchers like David Price (#1 overall), Madison Bumgarner, Ross Detwiler, Tommy Hunter and Jarrod Parker.

Porcello's 67 wins are second only to Price's 74 from that first round. Porcello now has 15 wins since July 1, 2013 -- second most to Zack Greinke in MLB during that span.

I'm not suggesting Porcello is a Cy Young candidate like Price, or that he will be an All-Star like Bumgarner, but he's better than given credit for here in Detroit.

Again, he's 25 and he's still learning. Every player learns at a different rate. Porcello is getting better at his craft. Maybe we as a baseball fan base can get better at understanding the maturation process that it sometimes takes in sports.

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